Meridian will see temperatures warm up to the upper 30’s on Wednesday, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist.
But before then, the city and Lauderdale County are under a hard freeze warning until Wednesday at noon. Janae Elkins, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Jackson, said that there could be damage to exposed pipes and that water main breaks are possible. Because of cold temperatures, black ice is possible late Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
“People should limit travel as much as possible,” Elkins said.
Some of the state will be under a winter storm warning, but Lauderdale County is not under the warning.
Elkins forecasted that it will rain in Meridian on Wednesday and Thursday. Because the temperatures are hovering above and below freezing, it is possible that some of the rain could be freezing rain.
Meridian will see have a high temperature of 39 or possibly 40 degrees on Wednesday, according to Elkins. Wednesday night will have a low temperature of just above freezing.
Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun said there have been some minor car crashes in Lauderdale County on Monday and Tuesday. He said there haven’t been many accidents, though.
“I think that’s attributed to most people staying off the roadways,” he said.
He recommended that people stay at home, but if you have to go out, drive very slowly. He said that roads are not back to their normal state yet.
The City of Meridian is under a curfew from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“Due to hazardous weather conditions, the City respectfully asks for all residents to limit travel to essential personnel only,” a city press release said. “The concern is refreezing and further icing of streets and roadways.”
Meridian had also been under a curfew on Monday night.
City offices and departments will be closed until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, except for essential personnel.
Mississippi State Department of Health closures
County health departments in Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton, Clarke and Kemper counties will be closed on Wednesday.
All Mississippi State Department of Health drive-thru vaccination sites will be closed on Wednesday, except those in Harrison, Jackson, Forrest and Jones counties. The appointments will be automatically rescheduled for the same time on a different day, and individuals will be notified by phone, email or text.
In regard to MSDH’s drive-thru testing locations, appointments at the Calhoun County site, the Copiah County site and the Farmer’s Market site in Hinds County are canceled for tomorrow. Patients are advised to reschedule their appointment.
Power outages and interstate closures
The Meridian area has seen some power outages. 95% of customers in Meridian will have power restored by midnight Tuesday, according to Mississippi Power spokesperson Jeff Shepard.
Mississippi Power’s storm team began working at first light Tuesday morning to continue restoring power to customers affected by Winter Storm Uri, Shepard said. The company had paused its power restoration efforts at 10 p.m. on Monday because of hazardous conditions and icy roads.
Interstate 20 has closures in Scott and Warren counties, according to a Monday morning press release by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. I-20 is closed in both directions between Norris Road (Exit 96) and State Route 15 (Exit 109) in Scott County. In Warren County, I-20 westbound is closed between U.S. Highway 61 North (Exit 5A) and the Mississippi River bridge.
Meridian Public School District's board of trustees meeting on Tuesday has been rescheduled to Thursday at noon.
The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday at 9 a.m.
The Meridian City Council meeting on Tuesday has been rescheduled to Thursday at 5 p.m.
School and college closures
All campuses of Mississippi State University, including the Meridian campus, will be closed through Thursday. Classes should be conducted remotely where possible, according to a university press release.
Meridian Community College will continue to hold classes online on Wednesday, according to a press release. The MCC campus will remain closed, and employees will keep working from home when possible. Students should monitor their Canvas accounts for more information.
The East Central Community College campus will be closed on Wednesday, and classes will be held virtually, according to a press release. Employees should work from home when possible. The college will resume all normal operations on Thursday.
East Mississippi Community College will be closed for the rest of the week. Students should check email and Canvas for updates from instructors. Employees should continue to work from home if possible.
The Enterprise School District will have a two-hour delayed opening on Wednesday.
The following school districts will offer virtual learning for students on Wednesday:
Meridian Public School District
Lauderdale County School District
Kemper County Schools
The following school districts will be closed and will not hold classes on Wednesday:
Newton County School District
Neshoba County School District
Union Public School District
Philadelphia Public School District
Bianca Moorman contributed to this report.