With the sun high in the sky Friday morning, Greenwood residents are finally starting to see the light at the end of a frigid and icy week that produced back-to-back winter storms.
The storms — which according to the National Weather Service brought in a total of about 4 inches of sleet, snow and freezing rain — have made driving treacherous, threatened power lines and, in some cases, caused property damage.
The forecast this weekend calls for Friday to be sunny, with a high near 31 degrees, before moving into a low of around 14 Friday night.
“The good news for today is that we are getting some sun,” Daniel Lamb, a meteorologist with the Jackson office of the National Weather Service said Friday morning. “We have one more really cold night tonight, though.”
Lamb said Friday night’s below-freezing temperatures could make driving hazardous again, as the slushy and semi-melted areas will refreeze.
“We will then start seeing a warming trend this weekend,” he said.
Saturday’s high is expected to hit 44, before dropping back below freezing with a nighttime low of around 28.
Sunday is expected to be partly sunny with a high near 53. There is a 70% chance of showers Sunday night, but the temperatures is expected to stay above freezing, with a predicted low of 34 degrees, that would keep the moisture from turning into ice.
“At this time, we are expecting all the precipitation we may get Sunday night to be liquid,” Lamb said.
According to Lamb, cold weather is expected for the area in late winter, but it’s unusual for it to drop this low. The average low temperature in Greenwood is around 38 degrees at this time of year, he said.
This week’s protracted cold snap has dropped the temperature into the teens most nights, reaching a low of 13 degrees early Tuesday morning.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Ronnie Shive said between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, there were seven recorded weather-related accidents in the area covered by Troop D, which includes Leflore County.
Only one resulted in injuries, however, when a vehicle veered off U.S. 51 near Goodman in Holmes County. Shive could not provide any further details as of Friday morning.
In Carroll County, Ken Strachan, the emergency management director, said roadways will continue to be dangerously slick and urged people to use caution. He added that there have still been reports of people having trouble traveling up hills because of the ice and snow.
“The greatest danger is the slick roads, and this melting of precipitation then freezing back makes the roads more dangerous during the night and into the next morning,” he said in an email.
Water service in southwestern Carroll County has also still been out due to the winter storm, Strachan said.
Meanwhile, utility companies continue to work to restore power to those who lost electricity when heavy layers of ice brought down tree limbs and power lines.
David O’Bryan, general manager of Delta Electric Power Association, said the number of customers without power in sections of Carroll, Holmes and Montgomery counties was down to 549 as of Friday morning. He said he hopes by the end of the day that all customers will have their power restored.
Originally 3,000 customers throughout those three counties had lost power Wednesday night, when the second winter storm brought mostly freezing rain and sleet.
“The conditions are still brutal out there for our linemen,” O’Bryan said. “Everything is pretty much still frozen. In some places it makes access very, very difficult for our linemen, and we appreciate the patience of our customers during this weather event.”
“We’re ready for spring weather,” O’Bryan added with a laugh.
Brian Finnegan, CEO of Greenwood Utilities, said there were no reported power outages Thursday night.
“We feel like the imminent danger has passed us, and we feel very confident things are getting back to normal now,” he said.
An interactive map showing power outages throughout Mississippi on www.poweroutage.us reported that, as of Friday morning, Leflore and all of its neighboring counties had less than 10% of residences and businesses without power.
The U.S. Postal Service again was not delivering mail Friday in Greenwood and the surrounding area.
With Friday’s closure, this marks the fourth time this week mail has not been delivered — Monday because of the Presidents’ Day holiday as well as Tuesday, Thursday and Friday because of the winter storms. The one day that the Postal Service sent out carriers, Wednesday, only limited service was attempted.
Many Greenwood stores continue to be closed or implement adjusted hours.
Greenwood Market Place is closing at 6 p.m. Friday, with Save A Lot closing at 7 p.m. Walmart said it did not yet know what time it would be closing but has been shutting down around 5 p.m. during most of the week.
All elementary and secondary school campuses were closed throughout the week but are expected to open back up Monday.
Greenwood City Hall was closed again Friday. A Facebook post from the mayor’s office said city crews will continue to add more salt to all bridges within the city limits and that if anyone in the city needs a warm place to shelter, call emergency management at 299-2600.
In another post, Mayor Carolyn McAdams said the city along with Greenwood Utilities, Leflore County, Greenwood-Leflore Emergency Management and Mac McNeer Construction Co. have been working together to remove the snow and ice from some streets throughout the city.
McAdams said the joint effort is trying “to do the best we can to get as many streets cleared as possible.”
The city has not picked up garbage or trash this week because of the ice-covered roads. McAdams has said that when the weather shifts, the city will resume the service and work through the weekend if necessary to catch up on garbage collection.
• Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or email@example.com. Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.