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Prepare for a hard freeze this week, protect animals, plants

This week could entail two days where temperatures could cause a hard freeze, so Pearl River County residents should protect their property and sensitive plants and outdoor animals.
According to www.wunderground.com, temperatures are expected to drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday and Thursday night into Thursday and Friday morning.
Exposed water pipes can freeze and burst when exposed to very cold temperatures for extended periods. Pearl River County Emergency Operations Director Danny Manley suggests insulating any exposed pipes to protect them from the cold.
Picayune Public Works Director Eric Morris said there are two kinds of products that can be used to insulate pipes, the standard Styrofoam or a new rubberized version. Alternately, city residents who have exposed pipes can leave their water running at a trickle, but Morris said it will affect their water and sewer bill slightly.
There are no cold weather shelters in the county, especially since there is not a homeless population in the county, Manley said.
However, if someone needs a warm place to stay during the cold snap, they can contact the EOC office, who will help them get in touch with one of the many local faith based organizations that can help bring them to a shelter in Hancock County.
Sensitive vegetation can die when subjected to extreme temperatures. If the plant is potted it would be best to bring it indoors.
Otherwise covering it with a sheet or blanket will help it survive the night. Pets should be brought inside the home as well. Never leave a pet outside in the cold.
According to ready.gov, preparations should also be made to protect vehicles. Antifreeze in the right proportions will keep the coolant system in a vehicle from freezing.
However, if the vehicle has a coolant leak and only water is being added without antifreeze, the proportions could be wrong, leading to extensive damage if the engine and radiator freezes.
Manley said the county has an emergency plan in place to deal with frozen roads. But Manley said rain is not forecast for this coming cold snap, so the plan will most likely not be needed.
If a future weather event replicates what the county went through during last year’s ice storm, Manley said the county would first contact the Mississippi Department of Transportation to see what aid the agency will provide on Interstate 59 and U.S. 11, which are part of MDOT’s responsibility.
After determining when and what kind of aid will arrive from MDOT, the county would then fill in the gaps by scraping and salting the major roads and closing any unnecessary roads.
Morris said the city is also prepared, especially after last year’s storm caught everyone off guard.
In addition to insulating any exposed water pipes on all city property, the city has salt and sand on hand and holds meetings with staff to ensure everyone is aware of the proper procedures.