By WMC Staff
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Early morning snowfall closed schools and made driving dangerous Monday for motorists across Mid-South.
Snow began to fall in the early morning hours Monday, blanketing some parts of north Mississippi with as much as eight inches of snow. Snowfall amounts tapered off northward, but parts of Memphis still received more than five inches of snow.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Mayor AC Wharton said Memphis City Hall would remain open, despite the weather.
"We've got to stay open," Wharton said. "Police cars can't run, fire trucks can't run, and emergency medical can't run unless we have operations like this."
Officials predicted that Tuesday's morning commute could be as treacherous as Monday. In most cases Monday, the roads were wet before dawn, with snow accumulating on grassy surfaces. Elevated roads, such as flyover ramps, became dangerous because of ice.
Wharton said every effort was being made to keep roads drivable.
"We're making plans for the night," he said. "We'll be relieving this shift because we think we may have to bring them back in probably in the middle of the night."
Dwan Gilliom, Director of Memphis Public Works said those crews would face a formidable job.
"We gotten some break from the weather in terms of temperatures getting above freezing as well as some rain," he said. "We look at that with mixed feeling, basically knowing the worst is still ahead of us."
Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Nations said he, too, was concerned about Tuesday's commute.
"We're concerned about the point and time when it dips below freezing where we get into that refreezing cycle and it makes driving that much more hazardous," he said.
Gilliom said the city has about 15 salt trucks on standby.
Shortly after dawn, the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and Fayette County Sheriff's Department activated their inclement weather policies. Motorists involved in minor, non-injury traffic accidents were asked to exchange information and report their accident at a later time.
Many Mid-South schools closed because of the weather, and many flights were delayed or canceled at Memphis International Airport.