Lessons learned from the rare winter storm in South Mississippi

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - It is not every day South Mississippi is coated in white, but as we learned this week, it can happen.

"We were prepared to fight the winter precipitation the best we could with our limited resources," Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said.

"We had enough notice and brought down supplies from other districts that were not affected," Mississippi Department of Transportation District Engineer Kelly Castleberry said. "I think if we had an event that was the magnitude of the entire state, there might be some things we need to do to help out more, but it would acquire additional resources."

Salt and sand were used on bridges and overpasses, which officials agree worked well. But with the amount of winter precipitation we received, it was inevitable some areas had to be shut down.

"Our game plan was to keep Interstate 10 open so that our motorists could commute the entire length of the state and keep a couple of the north and south routes open to get to the hospitals. That was our goal and we succeeded," Castleberry said.

Now that most of the ice has melted, leaders are discussing what else could have done. This way they will have a better plan of action in case it ever happens again.

"We could change a couple of equipment sheds, get them a little bit closer to the coast. Not build a large one, but something a little bit closer to the Coast," Castleberry said. "We do have salt on the Coast so we may put our reserves in a little different format and stage our reserves differently."

All in all though, leaders agree everyone's cooperation made the mess easier to deal with.

"I really want to commend our business owners, our motoring public. We asked them to stay off the roads and they did," Lacy said. "We had some businesses, and I know some of our casinos, went down to low staffs and what they did is put them up in the hotels and let them rotate in and out to keep them off the roads, which was very smart."

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