Weather

Start the year off chilly. A hard freeze warning is issued for South Mississippi.

Icicles hang from the fountain at Town Center in Virginia Beach, Va., on Thursday morning, Dec. 28, 2017. Freezing temperatures are expected through the week in South Mississippi. (L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
Icicles hang from the fountain at Town Center in Virginia Beach, Va., on Thursday morning, Dec. 28, 2017. Freezing temperatures are expected through the week in South Mississippi. (L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot via AP) AP

A hard freeze warning and single-digit wind chills are expected for the next five or six nights as a cold air mass settles across South Mississippi.

The National Weather Service expects the region’s coldest temperatures will be overnight Monday and Tuesday, with lows in the 20s in the southernmost part of the state.

If you’ve longed for cold weather on the Mississippi Coast, your wish has come true. The brr factor has arrived.

Monday’s highs are forecast in the upper 20s to lower 40s south of Interstate 10 across the Mississippi Coast and in the 20s overnight, Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said, reviewing weather service reports.

Temperatures north of I-10 are forecast in the 30s for Monday and in the teens overnight.

“A hard freeze and wind chill values could make overnight temperatures here feel like 6 degrees,” Lacy said. “It is going to be extremely cold at night, possibly into Friday night or Saturday night.”

Gulfport was expected to have probably nine hours of freezing temperatures Sunday night until about noon Monday, he said.

Lacy also said about 18 hours of freezing temperatures are expected overnight Monday and about 15 hours of freezing temperatures are likely overnight Tuesday.

A hard freeze refers to temperatures at or below 25 degrees for six to 8 hours or longer.

“People say you need a good winter to kill off the bugs. This should do it. We’re looking at extremely cold temperatures throughout the week.”

Snow is not in the forecast, so it’s not likely to be the type of precipitation that blanketed the Coast in a winter storm that hit Dec. 8.

Black ice is not necessarily expected, but elevated roads and bridges could have some slick spots, Lacy said.

The weather service advises a hard freeze will cause significant damage to vegetation and could cause outdoor pipes to freeze or burst.

“If you don’t need to get out and travel, stay indoors, out of the elements,” Lacy said.

“Drink a lot of hot chocolate, stay in layers of clothing, wear scarves and hats.”

He issued the usual cold-weather reminder to protect people, pipes, plants and pets.

Using an extension cord on an electric heater is not recommended, nor is placing a portable heater near drapes, Lacy said.

To protect your home’s exposed pipes, wrap or cover them.

If your only exposed pipes are from outdoor water faucets, emergency preparedness groups recommend you cover your outdoor faucet with foam insulation, newspaper or rags, and cover the latter with plastic, using heavy tape to secure it if necessary.

You also can leave your indoor faucets dripping with cold water. And open bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors under your sinks, according to the American Red Cross.

There’s also a warning for coastal boaters. Gale-force winds are forecast at 34 knots to 47 knots; that’s 39 mph to 54 mph.

Cold weather shelters

The homeless and those who live in homes with little or no heat are advised to go to a cold weather shelter at night. Here’s what will be open:

The Salvation Army, 2019 22nd St., Gulfport. Volunteers are needed; to sign up online, call 228-207-2303 during the day or 228-861-1360 after 4 p.m.

Seashore Mission has a cold weather shelter at the Fournier Multi Purpose Building, at 10395 Automall Parkway, in D’Iberville.

Hancock County Emergency Management has a shelter at Old Spanish Trail Baptist Church, 5078 U.S. 90, one mile west of Walmart.

If you have a cold weather shelter that is not included, email online@sunherald.com.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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