As the second winter storm heads into Oxford, check with Hottytoddy.com for updates on weather watches, warnings and closings.
By Alyssa Schnugg
While the sun shone brightly Tuesday in Oxford, bringing a welcome break from gray and cloudy skies, what little help it offered in melting ice on roadways was undone overnight as temperatures dipped back into the single digits.
Wednesday morning, the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department reported that most county roads were completely covered in snow; however, highways 6, 7, 334 and 30 have been grated.
“Keep in mind, these roads are much more slippery than they appear and are extremely dangerous,” the department posted on its Facebook page.
Lafayette County Emergency Management Director Steve Quarles said travel on county roads is worse today; however, there does not seem to be an abundance of ice on trees that could lead to power outages thus far.
“The trees and power lines appear to be free of ice for the most part,” he said Wednesday morning.
That could change with Wednesday night’s expected mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow.
The Oxford Police Department also warned the public to stay at home if possible and off the roads.
“Some areas that melted yesterday have now frozen. The ramps and side streets are the most dangerous right now,” OPD stated on Facebook.
At about 10 a.m., OPD warned citizens to avoid the intersection of 18th Street and University Avenue as it had become like “a sheet of ice.”
The second winter storm is expected to roll into Lafayette County this afternoon, bringing more snow, sleet and freezing rain throughout the evening and into Thursday.
According to Oxford Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Allgood, about three inches of sleet and snow are expected with a half-inch of ice by noon Thursday.
Mayor Robyn Tannehill thanked city employees for their response to the winter storm.
“We have road crews who couldn’t get back home, sleeping at the fire department and working around the clock,” she said Tuesday during the Board of Aldermen meeting. “City employees and other departments were out there today, clearing sidewalks and roadways.”
Tannehill also asked citizens to stay off the roads tonight.
“It’s a service to our first responders so they can respond to real emergencies and not someone stuck on a hill,” she said.
Tannehill said the city crews are plowing Golf Club Rd at intersections of Hwy 314 and College Hill Road. Slag trucks are at Hathorn Road and Molly Barr at the North Lamar intersection.
“Crews will be working all over town this morning,” she said Wednesday morning.
The city of Oxford has a temporary shelter open at the Oxford Activity Center for anyone needing a warm place to wait out the storm.
Tannehill said no one has spent the night at the shelter but a few people have come during the day.
Winter Storm Uri closed most Oxford businesses on Monday and Tuesday with many remaining closed today.
The Oxford Walmart was reportedly closed this morning but might open at around 1 p.m. if enough employees can make it to the store.
Kroger is open until 6 p.m. but the store manager reported the shelves were emptying quickly, and the store is out of propane and regular fuel. Starbucks is closed.
Larson’s CashSaver is open until 6 p.m., and the pharmacy will close at 5 p.m.
Visit Oxford is posting announcements from local businesses and restaurants on whether they are open or closed on its Instagram account here.
The Oxford School District and Lafayette County School District are closed for the remainder of the week; however, students are attending classes virtually. The University of Mississippi campus is closed today. An announcement on whether it will be open Thursday is expected this afternoon.
Temperatures are expected to slowly rise over the next few days with mostly sunny skies on Friday and Saturday. Sunday has a high of 50 degrees. Rain is expected Sunday evening.