Breaking News: Frigid temps raise concerns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 2010

By Billy Davis
and Rupert Howell

Local officials are urging Panolians to prepare for record-breaking low temperatures beginning Wednesday, when an Arctic cold front pounces on North Mississippi and the Mid-South.

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Authorities are most concerned about elderly citizens whose homes are not properly heated, said Panola sheriff’s investigator Mark Whitten.

If there is concern for a relative, neighbor or anyone else, “a deputy will be sent to check on that person,” if the sheriff’s office is notified, Whitten said Tuesday.

Those in danger would be placed with either family or neighbors or, as a last resort, a shelter, he said.

To seek help, Panolians should contact the sheriff’s department at 563-6230 or Panola County Emergency Management at 563-6245 or 487-2430.

The National Weather Service has forecast freezing rain and snow, beginning Wednesday night, followed by plunging temperatures with highs in the teens.  

“The Weather Service said these are the coldest temperatures we’ve seen in 20 years,” said Daniel Cole, director of Panola County Emergency Management.

Cole and Whitten, along with other locals, participated in a conference call with the National Weather Service Tuesday.

Authorities from east Arkansas, Tennessee, and as far away as the Missouri boot heel also participated.

Locally, the Miss. Department of Human Services, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the Panola County Road Department were also represented.