HATTIESBURG, MISS. - The weather forecast for South Mississippi calls for brutally cold temperatures and wind chills for the next two days. So, brutal that many schools have already been canceled for Wednesday. The freeze also has a drastic effect on the Pine Belt's homeless community and commuters who need to get to work.
“Temperatures are going to go down. Our low for tonight is around fifteen to sixteen degrees, and we are under a wind chill warning until noon tomorrow,” Forrest County Emergency Management Agency, Operations Manager, Paul Sheffield said. “Make sure you're bundled up because this is going to be some of the coldest wind chills we've had in several years.”
Tonight's cold temperatures forced Forrest County’s Emergency Management Agency to open the safe room at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center.
“The Forrest County three-sixty-one safe room is open,” Sheffield said. “We've had several people there who have substandard housing. They don't have heat in their homes, so they are going there at night, and it is open and will be open until noon Thursday.”
Also with homeless shelters such as “Field House for the Homeless” jammed packed, the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center could expect a bigger crowd than usual.
“I’m sending people to the Multi-Purpose Center because our numbers are at the limit,” Field House for the Homeless, director Cynthia Young said.
Young mentioned that The Field House for the Homeless is getting people to the Multi-Purpose Center by whatever means necessary, even if they have to drive residents themselves.
“The Field House is taking them to the facility in the evening, but the city has come on-board and provided transportation also and we are very grateful for that,” Young said.
Also, for your daily commute tomorrow morning, officials say to be careful of black ice or winter weather, especially when crossing bridges.
“Our department here has been applying a salt mixture to our bridges since this morning,” Interim General Manager for Public Works, Cotton Hill said. “They're the first thing to freeze over, and we are on standby to drop sand if it drops to below 15 degrees.”
Forrest County Emergency Management Agency predicts temperatures to get as low as 15 degrees Tuesday night, and it could possibly get to 10 degrees with the wind chill. In further news, Jones County’s safe house is also open for those who need shelter from the cold.