• 63°

Winter weather could cause hazardous commutes

OXFORD, Miss. – Today’s high is 62 degrees, but tomorrow’s is 32 degrees, leaving the potential for winter weather disrupting morning commutes.

According to the National Weather Service’s website, Lafayette County is under a winter weather advisory for the early hours of Friday and continuing through early afternoon. Mike Johnson with NWS says the winter weather will be relatively mild, but enough to create hazards on roads.

“We’re going to see a pretty strong cold front enter the area overnight,” Johnson said. “Around 2 to 3 a.m. rain will change over to freezing rain and sleet and you’ll get a tenth of an inch or less, enough to make roads slick. Around 9 a.m. snow can be expected, but accumulation is also expected to be less than an inch.”

With the brunt of the winter weather occurring in the early hours of the morning, commutes could be a little slippery.

MDOT Chief Engineer James Williams says the agency is working to keep Mississippians safe on the roadways.

“In Mississippi, winter storms are typically associated with rain,” Williams said in a news release. “We have to know what type of weather event we are dealing with in order to keep motorists safe. If the road ways are wet, crews will spread granular salt, sand or slag over the roads to help vehicles maintain traction.”

MDOT also released a few tips for those who will be driving in icy conditions. First and foremost, they urge motorists to make sure their vehicles are in top shape. That includes having vehicle batteries and charging systems checked, cleaning, flushing and replacing the antifreeze in the cooling systems, checking brakes and making sure the heater, defroster and windshield wipers are functioning properly.

Another preparation tip MDOT says can be a lifesaver is keeping a winter weather kit in the trunk or toolbox. They recommend stocking the kit with items like a windshield scraper, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, bottled water and snacks with a long shelf life and extra blankets.

One lingering question is whether Oxford School District and Lafayette County School District will cancel Friday classes. Oxford School District officials will be watching the weather forecast today and will make an announcement about a possible delayed school start or school closing, if necessary, by January 11 at 7 p.m.

For more information regarding travel hazards tomorrow morning or to sign up for mobile alerts, visit www.MDOTtraffic.com.