This Is The Deep South???

A New Year's Day concoction of Canadian air and Gulf moisture will hang over central and south Mississippi late Tuesday, where freezing rain, sleet and up to 2 inches of snow is forecast. A system moving in from the Northwest is forecast to combine with a low in the Gulf, bringing precipitation Tuesday night and Wednesday.

``We'll get a mixture of snow, sleet, and some areas to our south will get a mixture of freezing rain,'' said Marc McAllister, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Jackson. ``It could be an inch or two in some areas, it just depends on the track of the low out of the Gulf.'' Temperatures are expected to be in the high 30s Tuesday, dropping into the 20s Tuesday night, McAllister said. Wednesday night temperatures could dip into the teens. A winter storm watch will be in effect for Tuesday night and Wednesday in the general area just north of Interstate 20, McAllister said. McAllister said there is a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of precipitation. Weather models are predicting the precipitation to continue through Wednesday morning and taper off Wednesday afternoon. Mississippi Highway Patrol Chief Col. L.M. Claiborne Jr. urged travelers to call a special weather information line before taking to the roadways. ``We are hopeful that travelers will take time to make this one call before hitting the road,'' Claiborne said. ``We ask that you consider changing your travel plans rather than drive into a dangerous situation.''

Mississippi Department of Transportation crews are ready if the snow should materialize, spokeswoman Tracy Young said. ``We always do have plans for snow and for emergency weather,'' she said. Young said if bad weather does move in, crews will lay down aggregate, or gravel, to help with traction on bridges and overpasses. Motorists should be particularly careful on bridges, she said. ``We do the best we can to help the motorists if the highways ice over,'' Young said. MHP spokesman Warren Strain said there were reports of sleet in Amite County Monday morning.

The last time Mississippi saw snow was New Year's Eve of 2000, McAllister said.