Brrrr… winter chill on the way

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Freezing weather conditions may have Miss-Lou residents scrambling to prepare today and Wednesday, weather service reports indicate.

Steve Miller of the National Weather Service in Jackson said rain will bring freezing temperatures by sunrise today.

&uot;The temperatures will remain in the 30s all day (today) and Wednesday due to the cloudy conditions,&uot; said Miller.

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Freezing rain is possible for Wednesday, he said, but the Natchez area could experience only cold, rainy conditions.

There will be a slow warming trend starting Thursday, with temperatures reaching near normal ranges for the weekend, Miller said.

Natchez Water Works employee Margaret Lofton said area residents should take action to protect their pipes from temperatures of 32 degrees and below.

&uot;Pipes need to be insulated, especially if a house is raised and pipes are exposed,&uot; said Lofton. &uot;Some people use heat insulating strips that you can buy at a hardware store.

&uot;Sometimes people leave their water running,&uot; Lofton said, &uot;but they need to be aware of the fact that the extra water used will be put on their bill.&uot;

Dick Thompson, owner of Live Oak Nursery and Landscaping, said tropical plants will suffer from a freeze and should be protected.

&uot;Plants such as ferns, hibiscus, palms and ficus need to come inside,&uot; he said.

Thompson said outside plants should be all right during cold weather because they have been acclimated during the fall months.

&uot;We’ve had a gradual cooling- down effect,&uot; he said. &uot;That is why our fall color is so prolific.&uot;

Thompson suggests mulching beds – covering the roots with two inches of mulch – to help protect outside plants.

&uot;Plants are in danger when the temperature drops below 20 degrees and stays there for several days,&uot; said Thompson.

Outside pets also should be protected during the freezing weather.

&uot;Make sure they have shelter, such as a dog house or storage closet and maybe pad it with hay or blankets,&uot; said Lori Brown, and employee at Natchez Veterinary Clinic.

Brown said vets prefer for all animals to be inside where there is a heater during freezing weather, &uot;but make sure they have a place to get out of the wind or rain.&uot;

Brown also suggested checking pets’ water bowls to make sure the water doesn’t freeze and to feed them well to give them enough energy to fight the cold weather.

Nezzie Merritt of the Humane Society said, &uot;Bring them in.&uot;