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WEATHER UPDATE: Crews keep eye on ice accumulating on area bridges

Natchez Public Works Department employee Michael Matthew, left, spreads out sand along with his fellow workers on the road down to Magnolia Bluffs Casino to provide traction to motorist during the icy conditions. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez Public Works Department employee Michael Matthew, left, spreads out sand along with his fellow workers on the road down to Magnolia Bluffs Casino to provide traction to motorist during the icy conditions. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service is set to expire at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Capt Tom McGehee of the Natchez Police Department was keeping an eye on the bridge:

A Mississippi Department of Transportation truck empties a gravel mixture on the Mississippi River bridge to provide traction to motorist during the icy conditions. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

A Mississippi Department of Transportation truck empties a gravel mixture on the Mississippi River bridge to provide traction to motorist during the icy conditions. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

“We’re now seeing ice accumulating on the Mississippi River bridge,” McGehee said.

As of that time, he did not anticipate local and state officials closing the bridge.

The Adams County Civil Defense Office and the Mississippi Department of Transportation would make that call, McGehee said. The latter agency maintains the bridge.

Police and deputies were in constant contact with dispatch, civil defense and MDOT Thursday to keep abreast of hazardous weather conditions.

The NWS expected the worst accumulations of ice Thursday morning, tapering off by early Thursday afternoon, according to information from Meterologist Stephen Wilkinson with that agency’s Jackson office.

Local residents are better off not driving until the weather clears except in case of emergencies, McGehee said.

Natchez Public Works Department employee Lee Butler yells to stop dumping sand into the front loader as crews spread sand on the road down to Magnolia Bluffs Casino to provide traction to motorist during the icy conditions. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez Public Works Department employee Lee Butler yells to stop dumping sand into the front loader as crews spread sand on the road down to Magnolia Bluffs Casino to provide traction to motorist during the icy conditions. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

MDOT was sanding the Mississippi River bridge Thursday morning, with county and city road crews sanding bridges and roads elsewhere in Adams County.

“That will probably take six to eight hours,” said County Road Manager Robbie Dollar.

He added that as of mid-morning Thursday, there were no impassable roads.

“What will really be a problem is if sleet and frozen rain turns to slush that then freezes on the roads overnight Thursday,” Dollar said.

Placing sand on roads and bridges throughout the county started early Thursday morning

Civil Defense Director Robert Bradford not could be reached Thursday morning.

Adams County government offices closed around 10 a.m. Thursday due to the weather. As of that time, City of Natchez offices did not anticipate closing.

Local officials anticipated that limbs, trees and power lines would probably fall due to the weather, said NPD Detective Jerry Ford, adding that “we are starting to see ice accumulate.”

Nita McCann and Vershal Hogan contributed to this report.