Weather

Is it really going to snow in South Mississippi? Here’s what the forecasts say

North Bay Elementary School student Khamoya Moore, 5, braces against the cold weather as she walks to her bus after school on Wednesday, Dec., 6, 2017. Forecasters say conditions could be right for snowfall in South Mississippi late Thursday or early Friday.
North Bay Elementary School student Khamoya Moore, 5, braces against the cold weather as she walks to her bus after school on Wednesday, Dec., 6, 2017. Forecasters say conditions could be right for snowfall in South Mississippi late Thursday or early Friday. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Temperatures have already dropped 30 to 40 degrees and South Mississippians are battening down the hatches for the rumored snow-pocalypse.

But when and where will Jack Frost sprinkle his wintry white snowflakes?

The upper counties are in luck, as usual, but even the three coastal counties could see a mix of rain and snow.

“We’re pretty confident that we will see a changeover from all rain to either rain-snow mix there along the coast or actual light snow up in the Wiggins area,” said Phil Grigsby, forecaster with the National Weather Service forecaster in Slidell. “The confidence has increased on that occurring.”

Conditions will be ideal late Thursday night and early Friday morning — emphasis on early. By mid-day Friday, sunshine and dry air moving in will cut off any chances of precipitation. So the best chances of seeing snow fall are before and right around sunrise, which is just before 7 a.m.

Grigsby said temperatures are expected to stay above freezing — about 37 degrees close to the water and about 34 in the northern counties. That means the coastal areas are more likely to see a wintry mix, but places like Wiggins and Poplarville could see all snow.

“So there it could actually change over to all snow instead of rain-snow,” Grigsby said.

And because the ground temperatures are still so warm, any snow that falls likely won’t stick, except on elevated surfaces in the northern counties.

“There could be a very light dusting or accumulation on some of the bridges,” he said. But once the sun is out it will melt pretty quickly.

Ice patches a danger

However, Grigsby said late Friday night and Saturday morning could bring colder, more worrisome weather. With rain starting Wednesday and expected to continue off and on through Friday morning, any puddles left by Friday night could freeze and cause road hazards.

“The bigger worry is going to be when we get into Saturday morning,” he said. “Even though the rain is going to be over with and skies are actually going to clear out, that’s where we’re going to fall below freezing, down to around 31 degrees.”

The biggest danger would be ice patches on bridges, he said.

Freezing temperatures are possible across all of South Mississippi on Friday and Saturday mornings.

The weather service and Mississippi Department of Transportation will issue any necessary winter weather advisories and warnings for drivers as the forecasts become more clear.

Cancellations

Gulfport canceled its Harbor Lights on Wednesday and rescheduled its Military Appreciation Night to Dec. 11. The city said it will released updates on further cancellations on a daily basis.

Capture the magic

If you see some snow flurries, send us a photo or video (horizontal please) at online@sunherald.com!

Lauren Walck: 228-896-2393, @laurenwalck

Cold weather shelters opening

The Salvation Army Cold Weather Shelter at 2019 22nd Street in Gulfport will open Wednesday-Saturday. Doors open at 4 p.m. and close to new entries at 10 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. Volunteers are needed, to sign up go to www.supersass.com/schedule/Salvation_Army_Gulf_Coast/Cold_Weather_Shelter or call 228-207-2303 during the day or 228-861-1360 after 4 p.m. and on weekends. Seashore Mission will open a cold weather shelter at the Fouinier Multi Purpose Building at 10395 Automall Parkway in D’Iberville on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Hours of operation at the D’Iberville shelter are from 5 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

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