44.8 F

Arctic Blast Wreaked Havoc Thursday Day in Lafayette County; Frigid Temps Continue

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


Aptly named an arctic blast, the strong cold front certainly blasted its way into Lafayette County Thursday night, with 40 mph wind gusts toppling trees and knocking out power lines.

Within an hour of the wind’s arrival, temperatures dropped quickly, going from 47 degrees to 25 degrees within an hour’s time. Leftover water from earlier rain quickly turned into ice and a dusting of snow started to fall at about 7 p.m.

While the winds have settled down to about 10 mph and the sun is shining, sub-freezing temperatures will be constant for the next few days until Monday when the high will reach about 33 degrees.

During Thursday night’s storm, several trees were toppled with a few knocking out power for about 1,500 homes. One tree fell on a parked car, according to Lafayette County Public Information Officer Beau Moore.

“There was nobody in the car at the time the tree fell,” Moore said Friday morning.

The cold temps cause the Punkin Water Tower to leak water onto Highway 6 East, which quickly turned into ice. The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department closed one lane of traffic while the Mississippi Department of Transportation cleared the highway.

In Oxford, trash pickup was canceled since the large diesel trucks couldn’t start due to the cold.

Oxford University Transit buses are not running today.

The Oxford Police Department, this morning, reported that most local roads appeared to be driveable and without ice.

With everyone running their heat, space heaters, electric blankets and more, the Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies power to both Oxford Utilities and North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, has asked all customers to voluntarily reduce their electric use if possible to help TVA in its efforts to keep the system stable.

Moore said Lafayette County is not at risk for a blackout at this time.

“This is strictly a request so the grid stays strong,” he said.

NEMEPA told customers to not significantly turn down their heat but that lowering it a degree or two can make a big difference. The electric provider suggests customers delay using washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and other high-energy appliances until later Saturday afternoon and to keep window coverings closed in shady areas of their houses but open them if bright sunlight is available to help provide heat.

“We will probably not see temperatures above freezing until Monday and even then we will be back below freezing again when the sun goes down,” Moore said. “We should be constantly above freezing by Wednesday.”

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