Snow Brings Traffic Trouble - - The News for South Mississippi

Snow Brings Traffic Trouble

Two people were killed and dozens of accidents were reported early Wednesday as south Mississippi was dusted with a rare snow storm. Heather Sullivan, a dispatcher with the Mississippi Highway Patrol's Hattiesburg office, said one of the deaths occurred on Interstate 59 in Lamar County, while the second fatality was on Mississippi 537 in Jones County.

``Both occurred this morning in the snow but that's about all the information we have at this point,'' Sullivan said. She said the names of the victims were being withheld pending notification of relatives. Weather-related accidents were reported in several southeastern counties Tuesday night and early Wednesday before the bulk of the snow system pushed northeastward into Alabama. The National Weather Service in Jackson said a heavy snow warning for the area had been canceled and that only flurries were expected with the remnants of the storm. Lynn Gilmore of the weather service in Jackson said it appeared an area between Columbia and Hattiesburg, about 90 miles south of Jackson, received the most snow _ up to 3 inches.

The snow, in some cases mixed with sleet and freezing rain, was spawned from an upper level system in the lower Mississippi valley region and a surface low system over the western Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters said the low pressure system would move east toward Florida through Wednesday night. In Brookhaven, Highway Patrol dispatcher James Lambert said there had been some snow accumulation in the Magnolia and Osyka areas near the Mississippi-Louisiana line. ``We've got some icing on bridges but the roads are open,'' Lambert said. ``I got a call about an accident on U.S. 98 at the Bogue Chitto Water Park so it's slippery out there. ``The good news is it looks like we've got about all the snow we're going to get,'' he said. ``At least I hope that anyway.'' Sullivan said her office had received reports of some 35 accidents in the Hattiesburg area between 4 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. She said the southbound lane of busy U.S. 49, which connects central Mississippi to Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast, had been closed for a time just south of Mississippi 42 in northern Lamar County. Snow began in the Hattiesburg area Tuesday night and by 10 p.m. police dispatcher Amanda Peterson decided he's make a personal check of conditions. ``I just came from the roof,'' Peterson said. ``I was out there writing in the snow.'' About an inch of snow had accumulated in Hattiesburg by 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The weather service continued a hard freeze warning for Wednesday night in extreme south Mississippi. Highs Wednesday were to be in the 30s around the state with lows dropping into the teens and 20s in most areas. Most sunny skies were expected in the state Thursday.

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