Snow Day Power outages, sledding and freezing temperatures

Photos by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

Gavin Joyner, 9, and Payton Harrell, 9, enjoy sledding down a hill with Ella, a family pet, in a neighborhood in Collinsville Friday morning. 

Children built snowmen, dogs played in the snow and the city and county shut down while emergency workers warned of potential hazards as East Mississippi experienced its first snowfall of the 2017-18 winter season on Friday.

Around Meridian, the National Weather Service received reports of up to six inches of snow, with seven inches reported in Clarke County.

A forecaster from the service warned that while the snow may stop the Friday nighttime temperature, in the mid-20s, might freeze the snow and lead to patchy ice conditions, maybe even black ice.

With Saturday warming up and then cooling down at night again, that ice may reform Saturday night.

Fallen tree limbs, heavy from the snow, caused thousands of people to lose power throughout Kemper, Lauderdale, Newton, Clarke and Wayne Counties. Linemen from East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Dixie Electric Power Association and Mississippi Power worked throughout the day to restore power in numerous locations. 

While first responders reported relatively few minor accidents, they still they expressed concerns about conditions worsening overnight and freezing Saturday morning. 

“The snow’s probably going to continue, road conditions probably won’t improve,” Scott Spears, the director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Agency, said. “So if you don’t have to drive, don’t drive.”

The Mississippi Department of Transportation reported icy bridges and roads in the following counties: Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, Hinds, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lincoln, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Pike, Perry, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Smith, Walthall, Warren, Wayne, Wilkinson and Winston.

MDOT crews reported the heaviest snowfall north of Stone County to Clarke County and slush throughout the Pine Belt region, near Hattiesburg.

But many children took to the streets, finding hills to sled and building snowmen in their yards. Many Meridian Star readers submitted photos of their children experiencing snow for the first time and dogs frolicking in the snowfall.

Unfortunately, not everyone enjoyed the snow. Mississippi Community College at first canceled its planned graduation and pining ceremony, asking graduates to return their gowns back to campus on Monday or Tuesday. Later Friday, however, the college said it would attempt to reschedule a ceremony. One graduate, Jessica Earley, built a snowman to hand off her official Associate Nursing Degree. 

Due to the weather conditions, most area schools closed and the City of Meridian issued a special weather curfew, asking residents to stay indoor between the hours of 8 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Saturday. 

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