Coldest Weather Of 2000 Freezes Coast

A Popps Ferry Road work crew arrived at its rather frigid construction site at 7:00 a.m.  "It was probably about 20 degrees," construction worker Charles Beck said.  "It was cold enough to build a fire and try to stay warm."

At 10:00 a.m., the fire still flickered. But it could only provide the chilled workers temporary relief. That's why Milton Cuevas wore two pairs of long johns to the construction site.

"Hey it's cold," he said.  Then he described what else he wore.  "Two pair of socks, two shirts, jacket, gloves, two pair of gloves."

At the same time the construction guys showed up for work, the temperature reached an all time low for December 20th. So how cold is 21 degrees? It's cold enough to turn puddles into ice. And cold enough to make plenty of people feel just a bit uncomfortable.

Just ask Karen Baird.  "I've lived here all my life," the Jackson County resident said, "and this is considered blizzard weather for me. I don't go out in the cold."

Karen Baird only braved today's cold weather because her friend wanted to sell holley at the D'Iberville Farmers Market. Freezing temperatures kept other vendors at home.

Over in Gulfport, Ernest Mitchell had virtually no way to protect himself from the bone chilling cold. He stood on cold, steel scaffolding, on top of Gulfport's tallest building, helping take apart paint supports.

"Oh it's pretty cold up there," Mitchell said as soon as he came down from the scaffolding.  "The air and everything go to freezing up on your hands. You've got to keep covered up up there."

Eighteen stories below, the Hectors took a morning walk along a breezy Highway 90. Heavy jackets, gloves, and hoods were a must, even for an Ohio couple that used to this sort of cold weather.

by Brad Kessie