Schools, county business offices closed Tuesday for freezing conditions; Warming shelter open

Published 1:39 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

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NATCHEZ — All Concordia Parish and Natchez public schools along with city and county offices have confirmed closing Tuesday for inclement weather conditions.

Instant Impact Global Prep charter school, Cathedral and Adams County Christian School buildings are also closed on Tuesday with Cathedral students expected to log in for distance learning.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting has been postponed until 9 a.m. Thursday.

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Natchez-Adams School District’s regular board meeting previously scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday has also been canceled with no word yet on when it will be rescheduled.

At noon today, the National Weather Service forecast includes a 40 percent chance of wintery precipitation Monday night with temperatures not expected to climb above freezing until Wednesday morning.

A prolonged period of below-freezing weather and precipitation could mean hazardous traveling conditions with icy roads and possibly down trees and power lines, said Tom McGehee, planning chief with Adams County Emergency Management Agency.

“The chances of winter precipitation are no more than 1/10 inch, but right now a glaze is too much,” he said. “Natchez goes below freezing at noon and will not be above freezing until Wednesday at 9 a.m.”

Emergency management officials have pushed the opening of the warming shelter at the Adams County Safe Room at 323 Liberty Road to 1 p.m. today.

The shelter is open now to anyone in need.

Bring any bedding, food and drink, clothing and medications needed.

Small pets are welcome but must be in a kennel, EMA states.

EMA Director Robert Bradford advised residents not to hesitate to call for help getting to the shelter if they need it during the night. No one will be locked inside.

“Our door is open,” he said. “If your power goes out, don’t sit there and freeze. We’ve got the means and transportation to get people out of that.”

The worst of the winter weather is north of the county, but McGehee said, “We’re right there on the line.”

Adams County is part of the “winter storm watch area” and just above the county, it increases to a winter storm warning. That could be true of Adams County too if it meets the criteria for ice on the ground, he said.

He said There is also a wind chill advisory already covering the area through Tuesday afternoon and a hard freeze warning until Wednesday morning. Even after temperatures climb, windchill is forecasted to stay below freezing until Wednesday afternoon.

“Windchill forecast is currently 17 degrees and going down from there,” he said. “Tomorrow, one-degree windchill and will stay below freezing until noon Wednesday and then get back below freezing Wednesday evening and remain there until Thursday morning. We’re holding the option to have a shelter open until Thursday.”

Bradford advised all schools to close on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday too given no thaw is expected before Wednesday afternoon. However, a second weather briefing is planned for 1 p.m. Tuesday, in case conditions change.

“We need to prepare for the worst so that we’ll be able to respond,” he said. “My recommendation is that we close the county and also the schools until tomorrow afternoon until we get a further update,” Bradford said. “Stuff won’t be thawed until noon Wednesday but we are taking it day by day.”

Those with damages related to the winter storm are asked to contact Adams County emergency management and report it.

If the county does receive enough damages, it could meet the required threshold for some reimbursement from FEMA or MEMA for costs associated with the weather.

City of Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson advised residents to let their faucets run on a slow drip between now and Wednesday to prevent city pipes from freezing and bursting.

Also turn off and unplug any appliances before leaving your home in the event of power loss to prevent fires when power is restored.