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Power outages skyrocket in Mississippi, many roads closed

Brian Broom Keisha Rowe
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

A second winter storm made its way into Mississippi Wednesday and many Mississippians are dealing with the effects.

The number of power outages in Mississippi jumped from about 17,000 Wednesday morning to almost 200,000 Thursday morning.

Friday Updates:Mississippi power outages persist despite warming temperatures

Downed trees and icy conditions have forced road closures, and air travel continues to be suspended at Jackson airports.

Forecasters warned residents in the Delta, as well as the Jackson area, will likely not see highs above low to mid 30s during the day Thursday and lows could go below 20 degrees. The entire northwestern portion of the state will also see wind chill factors below 10 degrees during the nighttime hours, and hypothermia is possible with prolonged exposure, officials said.

More crews coming to restore power

Entergy Mississippi reported 89,000 of their customers were without power Thursday morning and said restoration is a slow process due to road conditions. The company said 180 additional resources are en route and more are being requested.

However, Entergy is notifying some customers that an estimated time for power restoration cannot be provided due to the number of outages.

Southern Pine Electric said it had 25,000 customers without power as of Thursday morning. Crews are working to restore power and an additional 120 linemen and 60 right-of-way crew members have joined the effort.

When will road conditions improve?:Not as soon as you’d like

Tips on portable generator safety

With a reported 160,000 customers without power, many Mississippians are currently using portable generators to get by until power is restored. Entergy Mississippi has offered tips on how to safely and properly use a generator.

Reeves urges residents to stay home as weather impact continues

Gov. Tate Reeves took to Twitter Thursday to strongly encourage residents to stay home as the impact of two winter storms continue to resonate across Mississippi.

Reeves said the storm has been a slow-moving disaster in the state that has left roads impassable and affected the state's power grid. Water systems have also been disrupted across the state and left thousands without service, including Reeves himself.

"My office building is flooded, while my home is without running water," he said.

The governor encouraged people who have had damage to their homes or property during the storm to document it to be assessed by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency at a later date. Reeves also reminded residents to check on neighbors and family members who may have been impacted by the storms, but also to stay off roadways because crews are working to clear the highways of icy conditions.

"Pray for the line crews, road crews, first responders, and others who have to go out in the cold and do dangerous work to restore power, clear roads, and protect us," he said.

Downed trees, power outages, traffic woes

Authorities are urging people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and if you are forced to drive, use extreme caution and watch for downed trees and power lines.

Tree limbs are coming down under the weight of ice causing power outages and blocking roads. 

For the latest on road closures and advisories, visit mdottraffic.com.

Power outages skyrocket in Mississippi

Although power has been restored to some, almost 200,000 customers throughout the state are without power.

Wednesday morning, roughly 17,000 customers in Mississippi were reported to be without power, but a second winter storm moved through Mississippi with freezing rain, sleet and snow and multiplied that number more than ten-fold. As of 7:30 a.m. Thursday, more than 195,000 customers were without power, according to PowerOutage.US. As of 12:30 p.m., 160,000 remained with power.

Entergy Mississippi issued a statement Wednesday afternoon asking customers to voluntarily reduce their usage until further notice. Freezing temperatures forced the company to utilize rolling blackouts Tuesday night as demand has surged over the past few days. 

The company suggested customers lower their thermostats to 68 degrees and delay non-essential activities like doing laundry and washing dishes until the conservation period has ended.

No power?:How to stay warm when you lose heat in your home

School closures:Mississippi schools announce closures, transition to virtual learning

Airport closures extended, again

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority has once again extended the closures of Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport and Hawkins Field.

Continuing adverse weather conditions have forced multiple closure extensions this week and now flights are anticipated to resume at 11 p.m. Friday. However, authorities said if conditions don't improve by then, the closures will remain in place until conditions are safe to resume service.

Some state health departments, vaccine sites closed Thursday

The Mississippi State Department of Health has announced that only some county health departments, WIC centers and offices throughout the state will be open Thursday as cold weather continues.

Locations will be open in the following counties:

  • Forrest
  • George
  • Greene
  • Hancock
  • Harrison
  • Jackson
  • Jones
  • Lamar
  • Pearl River
  • Perry
  • Stone
  • Wayne

The following county locations will open at 10 a.m.:

  • Clarke
  • Covington
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Lawrence
  • Marion

In addition, most of the state's drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination sites will also be closed Thursday, except for those in Harrison, Jackson, Forrest and Jones counties. Anyone with an appointment at other sites will have their shot automatically rescheduled and can check when their appointment will be set up on the agency's website.

The health department also said all of its free COVID-19 testing will be closed Thursday.

Trash services suspended Thursday

Trash collection throughout central Mississippi will also be suspended Thursday. Waste Management officials said service will resume when roadways are deemed safe to travel.

Have a news tip? Contact Keisha Rowe at nrowe@gannett.com, on Twitter or at (601) 760-2483.