While the snow and ice has ended, the threat to travel and public safety have not, and authorities are asking Mississippians to stay home today if they can.
The Arctic blast that sent below freezing temperatures, snow and sleet across Mississippi is being blamed for four deaths from a fire as well as hundreds of wrecks and road closures.
Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said the four victims in a mobile home were ages three months old to 30 years old. The fire is being blamed on a faulty gas heater in the living room. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency director Robert Latham during a news conference yesterday blamed the cold weather for the deaths.
Dickinson said a total of nine people were in the mobile home at the time of the blaze and were using the space heater for warmth.
Latham said Gov. Phil Bryant has decided to keep closed — at least until noon today — all state offices that were affected by winter weather.
Bryant is urging residents to stay off of roads and highways in areas affected by winter weather. MEMA reports travel is extremely dangerous and temperatures are not expected to be above freezing until tomorrow morning.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol and local emergency service officials are reporting dozens of accidents from vehicles sliding off of roadways.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is reporting icing on roads and bridges throughout the state, especially in central and southern Mississippi.