Chickasaw County is . . .

1STOCK WEATHER COLD_blue tobogganA cold front that sent freeze warnings all the way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast saw temperatures in Houston climb into the low 20s Monday with the chance of it plunging to 7-degrees tonight.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures will hit at least 10-degrees tonight with 15-mph winds out of the north-northwest sending the wind chill to 2-degrees by morning Tuesday.

Houston is expected to warm up to 27 Tuesday. A slight chance of freezing rain is forecast for Wednesday night. The NWS forecast calls for a high of 57 on Friday.

Houston, Okolona and Houlka schools did not hold resume classes Monday as part of planned staff development. School officials said local media, including the Chickasaw Journal, will be notified if school is closed or classes delayed Tuesday.

Tupelo’s official frigid temperature of 14 degrees Monday morning missed tying the record minimum low for the date, 13 degrees, but the forecast for a 7 degree low Tuesday morning, if reached, would tie the record minimum for the day, the National Weather Service in Memphis said Monday morning.

National Weather Service historical data shows that the lowest January temperature since 1930 was minus-14 degrees in 1940, with below-zero temperatures in January also recorded in 1936 and twice during the 1960s.

All quiet on Western front

Emergency management officials in several counties in the west half of the region reported no significant problems from the cold.

“Haven’t had any reports of problems from the cold – no waterline freezes or anything,” said Jimmy Allgood, Oxford emergency manager. “The only weather-related problem I’ve seen at all is that the construction fence at the Downtown Inn site blew down again.”

David A. Shaw, emergency manager for Lafayette County, said there weren’t even reports of trees down – a surprising result after Sunday night’s significant wind. Lafayette County Fire Chief Ottis Anderson said one house fire on Saturday – before the weather grew extreme – was probably due to a deteriorated chimney.

Hugh Hollowell and Jimmy Gresham, emergency managers for Marshall and Benton counties, respectively, said no damage was reported beyond a few frozen water lines in homes.

Shelter overflowing

The inclement weather has prompted the Salvation Army in Tupelo to open its doors in hopes of getting the homeless off the street.

The Army has dropped its normal lodge requirements to make sure people have a roof over their heads.

“Anyone and everyone who wants to stay is welcome,” said Susan Gilbert, director of social services for the Army.

With its lodge quarters full, the Army is placing men in their gym and women in S.A.F.E facilities. Even so, the Army is taking measures to check on those who may lack access to heat.

“Of the ones I know of who sleep outside, the chronic homeless, who choose to remain on the street, they are all here,” Gilbert said. “We’re also checking on several of our clients, checking on them to make sure they have heat, and we’re making sure everyone has blankets.”

Looking forward, Gilbert said the current plan was for things to return to normal on Thursday, after the freezing temperatures predicted for Wednesday night. But with Mississippi’s wild card weather, the Army is going to remain flexible.

“We’re not assuming anything,” Gilbert said. “In Mississippi it can go from a heat wave to a blizzard overnight.”

At the moment, Gilbert said the Army was focused on keeping everyone warm and fed, but was worried the weather and close quarter might facilitate the spreading of contagious illnesses like the cold.

School updates

• Lee County schools will resume classes Tuesday at 10 a.m. Buses will run on a two-hour delay. Staff should report at regular times.

• Booneville schools will resume classes Tuesday at 10 a.m.

• Tupelo Christian Preparatory School will resume classes Tuesday at 10 a.m.

• Tishomingo County schools will resume classes Tuesday at 10 a.m.

• Baldwyn schools will resume classes Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. Buses will run two hours later than normal.

• Baldwyn Head Start will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

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