Almost the entire state of Mississippi could see impacts from this winter storm
Wintry mix Monday, near record cold Tuesday morning
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – The WLOX First Alert Weather team is monitoring what will be a major winter storm to impact Louisiana and much of central and northern Mississippi with freezing rain, sleet, snow and bitter cold temperatures. However, there is some uncertainty with how much of the winter weather the six southernmost counties of South Mississippi will experience. It will be a very close call on whether rain transitions to freezing rain and sleet on Monday – which could cause travel troubles across the area if it occurs. The best chance for seeing any wintry mix will be for inland areas and west of Highway 49. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Pearl River and Stone Counties.
Short-range models are indicating arctic air could start to move in quicker during the day on Monday. Rain could begin to move into South Mississippi before noon. A mix of freezing rain and sleet will be possible for some between 6 AM and 6 PM. Pipe-bursting cold with lows in the teens and 20s, wind chill values in the 5-10° range is expected to settle in overnight Monday into Tuesday morning.
Mainly cold rain is expected across South Mississippi (Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson counties). However, as the rain exits and temperatures begin to fall, a transition to freezing rain or sleet or a mix of the two is possible. It’s not out of the question a very thin glaze of ice could accumulate on elevated surfaces like trees, powerlines, and roadways in areas along and west of HWY 49 and north of I-10 like: Pearl River, Stone, northwestern Harrison, and northern Hancock counties. This could cause slick travel by early Monday afternoon. Whether that icy glaze can make it to the coast or not depends on how fast the cold air comes in and how quickly or slowly the moisture moves out. Significant accumulations of freezing rain and sleet is not expected, but it doesn’t take much to cause travel issues. While a few snow flakes could mix in with this, accumulating snow is not likely.
Remember, freezing rain is not sleet and it is not rain. It is supercooled rain drops that falls as liquid and when it hits a freezing surface, it freezes on contact creating a glaze of ice. Sleet is already frozen when it hits the ground as ice pellets.
Bitter cold air will spill into the area Monday night. Lows by Tuesday morning may be in the teens north of I-10, low 20s on the coast. Take precautions now to protect pipes, pets, people and plants. With wind chills dropping into the single digits and teens, you also need to take precautions to prevent frostbite. Make sure to dress in plenty of warm clothing if you need to be outside, including hats and gloves.
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