Winter storm crash

Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Ronnie Shive said that since the start of the winter storm there has been one major accident to occur in Leflore County. The wreck happened at around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Shive said the driver, the only person in the vehicle, faced significant injuries. “He’s very lucky to be alive,” Shive said.

Roads throughout Leflore County remain hazardous as ice and other precipitation continue to cover them.

Weightman Street

A mixture of ice, sleet and snow has been accumulating on roads, such as Weightman Street, since Sunday, making them extremely difficult to drive on.  

The National Weather Service is calling for a guaranteed chance of snow showers, freezing rain and sleet with highs nearing 31 degrees Wednesday afternoon.

This will continue from Wednesday night into Thursday morning with a low around 28 degrees.

Throughout Thursday, there will be a 40% chance of winter precipitation with a low around 18 degrees Thursday night.

Alan Campbell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Jackson, said the layer of ice will continue to linger and accumulate.

“It looks like, unfortunately, Greenwood will be at or below freezing for the rest of the work week,” he said.

Campbell said a winter storm warning that is in place Wednesday could likely bring up to an inch or more of frozen precipitation.

He added that although some of the area will start to thaw beginning Friday and Saturday, most of the frozen accumulation will not begin to melt until Sunday when the highs reach the low 50s.

The roads, Campbell said, will continue to be treacherous for the rest of the week.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Ronnie Shive said Wednesday morning that there had been one major accident.

Shive, who was awaiting further details on the wreck, said that a single-vehicle accident occurred on Mississippi 442 just inside Leflore County around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when a vehicle went off the road and crashed into a tree.

Shive said there was only one person in the vehicle, a pickup truck, and that the person had significant injuries.

“He was hurt pretty good,” Shive said in a text message. The state trooper who arrived at the scene thinks the driver “was there around an hour in the 17-degree temperature before someone found him,” Shive said. “He’s very lucky to be alive.”

A Facebook post from MHP Wednesday morning showed that the area in which Leflore County falls under has had 37 weather-related incidents since Sunday. Shive said these are calls MHP responds to where there is no damage to vehicles, such as cars in the medians or off roadways.

Greenwood Police Chief Terrence Craft said Wednesday that there have been no reported car wrecks in the city.

The Leflore County road manager, Jerry Smith, said he was talking with state officials and could provide further updates on the county’s roads later in the day.

Another large concern because of the weather has been the fear of power being shut off.

However, there have been no new reported power outages, both David O’Bryan, general manager of Delta Electric Power Association, and Brian Finnegan, CEO of Greenwood Utilities, said Wednesday morning.

While there have been rolling blackouts throughout Mississippi — a strategy that’s been used across the South as a method to conserve energy amid the ice storm — the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid that covers the territories of Greenwood Utilities and Delta Electric, has not yet indicated to either utility's wholesale power provider to conduct load sheddings, both Finnegan and O’Bryan said Wednesday morning. Greenwood Utilities gets its electricity from the Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi (MEAM), and Delta Electric from Cooperative Energy.

It was MISO that directed Entergy Mississippi to conduct controlled power outages from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, O’Bryan said the communication between Cooperative Energy and MISO indicated no planned power outages were needed yet; Finnegan said the same of communications between MEAM and MISO.

O’Bryan said, however, that this could change at a moment’s notice.

“Things can change very quickly with the weather,” he said.

Should there be any planned power outages, Delta Electric would alert the public about this, O’Bryan said.

“We’re just hoping we can get through the next couple of days without any issue,” he said.

In Carroll County, the Board of Supervisors and the municipalities of Carrollton, North Carrollton and Vaiden filed an emergency proclamation based on the weather and sent a resolution to Gov. Tate Reeves requesting he declare a state of emergency, according to a prepared statement released by Ken Strachan, director of Carroll County’s emergency management and mayor of North Carrollton.

On Wednesday, Strachan said there have been reports of motorists who could not travel up hills because of the ice.

Although salt has been applied on various hilly roads, it has not been able to melt the ice, he said.

A new strategy the county is implementing is using backhoes to scrape off ice covering various hilltop roads, Strachan said.

A Facebook post from Carrollton said the Carroll County Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Department are “asking the public to please stay off of the roadways.”

Like others, Strachan said Carroll County is preparing for the possible accumulation of freezing rain Wednesday afternoon and evening, which could lead to broken tree limbs and downed power lines, creating power outages.

David Walton, a spokesperson for the Mississippi section of the U.S. Postal Service, said mail should be delivered Wednesday.

Walton said that while some streets may need to be delayed due to weather conditions, postal deliveries should run as planned throughout the state. This includes retail service, mail delivery and drop shipments, he said.

Mail was not delivered Monday, because of the Presidents’ Day holiday, or Tuesday, because the weather condition was deemed too dangerous for the service’s staff.

Meanwhile, several stores in the area have remained closed or have adjusted their hours because of the winter conditions.

Greenwood Market Place adjusted its hours of operation again Wednesday, closing at 1 p.m. Walmart on U.S. 82 said it has not yet been determined what time it would be closing Wednesday. On Tuesday, the superstore closed at 4:30 p.m.

All school campuses in the area were closed again Wednesday.

The Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District, which currently does not hold in-person classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued with distance learning via work packets the students have received.

Likewise, Leflore Legacy Academy will continue distance learning for the rest of the week. For the Greenwood charter school, students will not be returning to campus Wednesday or Thursday, and Friday was already planned as a virtual day per the school’s hybrid model, a combination of both in-person classes and online learning that it adopted because of the pandemic.

Pillow Academy and Delta Streets Academy announced they will not be holding in-person classes Thursday. Carroll Academy and the Carroll County School District are both extending their closures for the rest of the week.

In a post from its Facebook page Wednesday, Mississippi Valley State University said that its campus would be closed for the rest of this week due to inclement weather and only essential personnel are asked to report to work at the Itta Bena campus.

All Mississippi Delta Community College campuses are closed through Thursday. Classes will meet virtually, although residence halls and cafeterias will remain open.

Greenwood City Hall is closed Wednesday, “due to inclement weather conditions and for the safety of the city employees,” a Facebook post from the mayor’s office said. City crews will continue to add more salt to all bridges within the city limits. If anyone in the city needs a warm place to shelter, call Emergency Management at 299-2600.

Greenwood City Hall was also closed Tuesday, and Mayor Carolyn McAdams said the city has halted its garbage and trash pickup for the time being until the streets are cleared.

When the weather lifts, McAdams said the city will resume garbage and trash pickup and added that the city would work through the weekend if the weather is clear.

Staff writer Gerard Edic contributed to this report.

• Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or abakst@gwcommonwealth.com. Twitter: @AdamBakst_GWCW

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