With people from Louisiana and central Mississippi posting Christmas card-worthy pictures of snow on social media, many Coastians were stuck with cold and drizzly rain all day Friday.
But before the sun set, much of the Coast got to see a least a sprinkling of snow.
In the three coastal counties, the weather service predicted a chance of rain mixed with snow before 9 p.m. and a chance of snow after 10 p.m. Friday.
The snow front is moving diagonally from southwest to northeast across the Gulf Coast, so places in Pearl River County, including Poplarville, saw 1-3 inches of snow by midday Friday.
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“It’s been steadily snowing in Pearl River County,” said Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley. “We had about an inch of snow around 11 a.m. and it looks like Poplarville was getting the worst of it.”
As of 11:10 a.m. Friday there had been at least 25 weather-related accidents in the county, the city of Poplarville reported.
The Sun Herald also confirmed snow sightings in Wiggins and Hancock County before noon and Harrison County before 5 p.m.
With the lingering moisture and even colder temperatures Friday night, the risk of dangerous driving conditions has increased.
Any puddles or water left on the roads could freeze into ice patches that can’t be seen by drivers. It’s called black ice.
“Our biggest concern is there’s a very good chance temperatures will dip below freezing Friday night which could create some issues with black ice and things like that,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Michael Hill said.
Black ice and following too closely behind another vehicle will be the leading causes of crashes over the next few days, said Capt. Johnny Poulos of the Mississippi Highway Patrol told the Sun Herald on Thursday.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol in Biloxi tweeted it has responded to more than 40 calls since 8 a.m. and advised all residents to stay off the roads.
Driving conditions could remain dangerous through mid-morning Saturday for all of South Mississippi, the weather service advised.
A winter weather advisory for all of South Mississippi has been extended until 6 p.m. Friday. Pearl River County is under a winter storm warning until 6 p.m.
There is hard freeze warning for the three coastal counties until 8 a.m. Saturday. There is a freeze warning until 9 a.m. Saturday for Stone and George counties. Freeze warnings means people, pets and plants should be kept indoors overnight.
The Salvation Army Cold Weather Shelter in Gulfport will open Friday-Sunday nights. Volunteers are needed.
Wintry Pine Belt
The Pine Belt was blanketed with fluffy snow Friday.
The Hattiesburg American reported Forrest County emergency management expected to get 3-6 inches of snow by Friday afternoon. Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker encouraged businesses to close earlier than usual on Friday afternoon as the snow and winter precipitation lingered over the area.
About 6,000 customers of Mississippi Power on Friday were temporarily without power due to the wintery conditions.
Mississippi Department of Transportation crews reported heavy accumulation from just north of Stone County to Clark County.
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- Start time for ACT testing at Long Beach High School will be delayed by one hour and will start at 9 a.m. Saturday
- ACT testing has been postponed at D’Iberville, Harrison Central and West Harrison high schools as well as at all Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College locations. It will be rescheduled at a later date.
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Annual Festival of Lights at the Perkinston campus scheduled for Friday night has been canceled.
- Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge’s Crane Fest scheduled for Saturday has ben canceled.
- Saturday’s women’s basketball game at the Weathers/Wentzell Center between MGCCC and Baton Rouge has been canceled.