Coast and state see record cold temperatures, but few problems

14049763-largeJACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — There were record low temperatures in many parts of Mississippi on Tuesday morning — including the Gulf Coast — but officials say there have been few reports of major weather-related problems.

The low recorded along the immediate Mississippi coast was 18 degrees at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

Gautier, Moss Point, Pascagoula, Gulfport, and Long Beach all recorded lows of 19, while Ocean Springs and Biloxi were the “hot spots” with a low of 20 degrees.

A little further north in George County, Lucedale registered a low of 14.

All of those lows were new records — and the coast wasn’t alone in setting records Tuesday morning.


Joanne Culin is a meteorologist with the Jackson office of the National Weather Service, which covers central Mississippi. Culin said all the reporting cites in that coverage area broke daily low temperature records Tuesday morning, but the frigid temperatures didn’t break records for the month of January.

The lowest temperature reported was 4 degrees in Eupora.

Culin says there was a report of a broken water tower in Flowood and broken water lines in places, but she hasn’t heard of any major weather problems.

Greg Flynn, spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, says no major problems have been reported to MEMA.

In Biloxi, freezing temperatures caused a sensor at a city water well to malfunction this morning, which led to little or no water pressure at several high-rise hotels in east Biloxi this morning.

The drop in pressure was first reported at 6:30 a.m., and Public Works crews had all water pressure restored within a couple of hours.

Typically, water well sensors activate the wells when water levels drop in the city’s network of elevated storage tanks. This morning, a sensor at a well supplying a water tower off Oak Street in east Biloxi malfunctioned causing the loss in pressure.

“The real issue was for the high rise hotels,” said Biloxi City Engineer Damon Torricelli. “Their booster pumps that help maintain pressure to their upper floors shut down when our water pressure dropped.”

Exacerbating the issue, Torricelli said, is that as part of post-Katrina rebuilding, the electronics controlling the wells are elevated to avoid future storm damage. “While this protects them from water, it exposes them to the wind and makes them more susceptible to freezing temperatures.”

Torricelli said the equipment installers and manufacturers are being consulted to avoid future issues.

Said Torricelli: “We certainly apologize for this inconvenience, and we’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”


Mississippi Press Staff Writer Warren Kulo contributed to this report.