Monday was the coldest January 4 since at least 1944, when record keeping began in Meridian. The high didn't even make it to freezing.
That means it's past time to get ready for it and time to finalize plans to protect against the extreme cold. Local emergency management officials are preparing themselves, in case community response is necessary.
"Twice a day, LEMA and our Division of Homeland Security are meeting to discuss what we know about the weather, what we're getting out of Jackson from the Emergency Management Agency and from the National Weather Service," said Tim Miller, Meridian's director of homeland security."We are going to formulate our plans based on what we hear from them."
"It's changed from snow to looking like more of a possibility of freezing rain," said David Sharp, Lauderdale County's emergency management director. "Usually what you get accompanied with that is downed power lines, and depending on how much ice we've got, it could be a major power outage. Know that we're prepared to open up a shelter if we have to."
By week's end, we could see the coldest air our area has seen this time of the year in 40 years. In fact, we could be close to dangerously cold record lows and more life-threatening wind chills dipping to below zero along with the wintry precipitation.
Officials here say they're planning for snow, ice, and freezing rain, whichever it turns out to be.
Make sure your vehicles have the right levels of antifreeze, and make sure your pets have plenty of unfrozen water to drink. You will also need to wrap exposed pipes to keep them from bursting, and remember to be safe when heating your homes.
The Key Chapter of the American Red Cross said it will be ready if and when a shelter needs to be opened. If officials see there is a need, it will be located at Central United Methodist Church, 23rd Avenue in downtown Meridian.