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Bryant declares state of emergency as winter storm ices state

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Gov. Phil Bryant has declared a state of emergency in several counties hit hard by wintry ice storm.

Bryant’s office said late last night that at least 45 counties had reported being affected by the storms.

“We are taking the threat of severe weather seriously, and we are looking to ensure that local officials have the tools they need to respond properly,” Bryant said in a statement.

An ice storm warning has been extended through 6 p.m. today for the Mississippi Delta, where ice has already been reported on roads and bridges in numerous counties.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation says ice accumulated yesterday on roads and bridges in Alcorn, DeSoto, Lafayette, Leflore, Marshall, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tippah and Yalobusha counties.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said there were more than 400 power outages in Anguilla in Sharkey County and a possible tornado destroyed two houses and damaged four others in Wayne County on Sunday night.

There were reports of numerous car wrecks yesterday in Panola County related to the weather.

Anna Weber, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said the Mississippi Delta has seen the worst icing conditions but there also have been reports of accumulations as far south as Vicksburg and northern Hinds County.

Weber said there could be light freezing rain in the area overnight with the possibility of more freezing rain and sleet today when heavier precipitation is expected.

Some parts of the state that weren’t threatened by icy conditions were under flood warnings or flash flood warnings yesterday.

Mark McConnell, MDOT’s chief engineer, said yesterday that crews have been treating iced bridges.

As a precaution, he said crews also prepared the U.S. 82 bridge over the Mississippi River at Greenville and the bridges at the intersection of interstates 20 and 55 in Jackson.

The Mississippi Department of Education website listed more than two-dozen districts that closed schools Monday and some could remain closed today.

Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, urged motorists to stay off the roads if possible and use “extreme caution” on bridges and overpasses if they must travel.

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