Much-needed warmer weather is in store for Greenwood this weekend.
With no further icy precipitation expected, the Greenwood area likely has seen the last of the snow, sleet and freezing rain from the historic back-to-back winter storms that hit Mississippi starting last Sunday.
The storms — which, according to the National Weather Service, brought in a total of about 4 inches of winter precipitation to the area — have made driving treacherous, threatened power lines and caused some property damage.
Friday’s sunshine, with a high near 31 degrees, helped melt some of the layers of ice and snow. But that was only before a chilly night with a low of around 14 expected.
“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 (Friday), though.”
The freezing temperatures were expected to make roads slushy and slick Saturday and Sunday, although a warming trend was in the forecast.
Saturday’s high was expected to rise to near 43 before dropping back below freezing with a nighttime low of around 28 degrees.
On Sunday, there’s an expected high near 55. There is an 80% chance of showers Sunday night with a low of 34 degrees, but this is not expected to harden to sleet or frozen rain.
“At this time, we are expecting all the precipitation we may get Sunday night to be liquid,” Lamb said.
Typically, this time of year, the average low temperature in Greenwood is around 38 degrees, Lamb said. However, this week’s lowest temperature was 13 degrees on Tuesday morning.
With the refreezing of the roads, ice will remain for the next couple of days, thus still making it dangerous to drive.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Ronnie Shive said between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning there were seven recorded weather-related accidents for MHP’s Troop D, which serves Leflore County.
Of those incidents, Shive said, only one resulted in injuries to a motorist — when a vehicle veered off the roadway on U.S. 51 near Goodman in Holmes County.
In Greenwood. a building owned by Delta Streets Academy — the former State Bank & Trust building located behind Pizza Inn and Burger King along U.S. 82, collapsed sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday morning due to the weight of ice and snow.
“It’s a disaster, for sure,” said T. Mac Howard, the founder and executive director of Delta Streets.
Last year Lee Abraham, a Greenwood attorney and former owner of the building, sold it to Delta Streets. The building had been undergoing renovations to serve as a gym for the school’s basketball team. Howard had also said that he’d like to use the gym to hold basketball tournaments for the entire community.
Howard said that he’s unsure what action will be taken since it’s too early to tell.
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, which includes the area of Acy’s Grocery & Deli on top of a hill along Mississippi 430 South, has also been out since Thursday morning, Strachan said.
Pelucia Rural Water Association, which manages water service to the area, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Strachan, who also serves as mayor for the town of North Carrollton, said trash pickup has been rescheduled for Thursday and scheduled tornado drills planned for earlier in the week in conjunction with Severe Weather Preparedness Week have been rescheduled for Wednesday.
As for electricity, 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 337 on Friday. He said that he was hoping by Saturday morning that all customers would have their power restored.
Originally 3,000 customers throughout Carroll, Holmes and Montgomery counties had lost power due to the winter storm Wednesday night.
“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, although an equipment failure at the Henderson substation Friday afternoon caused 400 customers to lose power for 20 to 25 minutes.
“We think the cold weather probably had something to do with it,” 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 fewer than 10% of residences and businesses that were without power.
The U.S. Postal Service again was not in service for the Greenwood area on Friday and will not resume service on Saturday due to icy roads.
Saturday will be the fifth day this week that mail has not been delivered — Monday because of the Presidents’ Day holiday and the other days because of the winter storms.
Many Greenwood stores continue to be closed or have implemented adjusted hours because of the conditions.
Greenwood Market Place closed at 6 p.m. Friday, and Save A Lot on West Park Avenue closed at 7 p.m. Friday. Walmart on U.S. 82 had not set its closing time but had been shutting down around 5 p.m. during the week.
All elementary and secondary school campuses were closed throughout the week but are expected to reopen Monday once the warmer weather melts some of the ice on the roads.
Greenwood City Hall was closed again Friday.
In a Facebook post made Thursday, Mayor Carolyn McAdams said the city, 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.
“We will continue to do the best we can to get as many streets cleared as possible,” she said.
Backhoes operated by Greenwood municipal workers could be seen removing snow and ice off of streets in town Friday.
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.