Winter weather makes untimely appearance

Published 12:29 am Saturday, March 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — When scattered snowflakes began to fall Friday evening, the fact that they were falling at all was noteworthy.

“It’s every four or five years we get a little bit of snow in southern Mississippi in March,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist and Forecaster Brad Bryant. “It’s mostly trace amounts that didn’t accumulate. It doesn’t happen very often but it’s not unheard of.”

The last time that is snowed enough in southern Mississippi that it accumulated on the ground in March was in 1993.

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“That was a pretty irregular event,” Bryant said.

In fact, it has only snowed enough to accumulate on the ground in March three times since records were started being kept in Jackson in 1893.

Any snow that was expected tapered off late Friday night, and today the National Weather Service is predicting clouds with temperatures in the mid-40s with lows around freezing tonight.

By Sunday, however, the weather should warm to a high of 67 degrees.

Director of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours Jim Coy said he doesn’t know that it has ever snowed, if only for a moment, for Spring Pilgrimage.

And he said he doesn’t expect the cold weather to affect pilgrimage one way or the other.

“We have been through the tech crash, the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the highest gas prices anyone has ever seen, and people have always come” Coy said. “I think the attraction of what Pilgrimage does — what it is — will always be strong and will bring people.”

If there is ice on the roads, drivers should avoid braking quickly, should decrease their speed in case they need to stop quickly, should avoid using cruise control and should leave their lights on to increase their visibility.