Mississippi Nurses Travel Icy Backroads to See Patients | Mississippi News

By JOSH MITCHELL, The Daily Journal

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Two local home health nurses braved severe winter weather conditions so they could see their patients.

Courtney Coffey and Jennifer Russell, who both work for North Mississippi Medical Center Home Health, rode about 60 miles in a Polaris side-by-side vehicle on Feb. 17.

“That’s the only way we could get to these patients,” said Russell, who described the roads as “really bad.”

During their five-hour journey, which took them down icy backroads in below-freezing temperatures, they saw five elderly patients.

“It made me feel good to be able to still help them,” Russell said.

They drove to Pinedale, Hurricane and Thaxton and did not see many other vehicles along the way. The road conditions were “terrible,” said Coffey, adding, “All the little county roads (were) really, really bad.”

A bridge was closed, which forced them to take a longer route. Coffey, who lives in the West Union area, drove the whole way. It was her uncle’s side-by-side and it was heated and fully enclosed, allowing them to stay warm.

“We didn’t get cold at all,” said Russell.

Coffey said the side-by-side handled well in the snow. “I grew up riding four-wheelers and stuff like that my whole life,” Coffey, 32, said.

They started their journey around 9 a.m. and got home at about 2 p.m. just as the snow from the second winter storm was starting to fall. They traveled about 20 to 25 mph.

Russell, who lives in the Darden community, said the roads were a sheet of ice. They said they would not have been able to travel the roads in their compact home health vehicles. Some of the roads had no traffic on them at all.

“We made it OK,” said Russell, 33. “We didn’t really have any issues getting there on the side-by-side.”

They went to one elderly patient’s house and he only had a small amount of firewood left inside his home. Russell and Coffey went outside and brought him some more firewood and told the man to please stay inside.

The man was prone to falls, and they did not want him to risk falling outside while getting more firewood. In fact, the man said he had fallen earlier and hurt his knee and ankle.

One patient they saw needed lab work done, and they also saw a cancer patient in addition to others.

“It felt really good to be able to go and still help them out and still check on them just to make sure everything was going OK,” Russell said.

All the patients were “thrilled to see us,” said Coffey. “We knew that some of these (patients) needed to be seen.”

Some of the patients were laughing because Russell and Coffey were on the side-by-side. They took their journey the day the second winter storm hit the area.

“We got out and tried to beat it coming in,” said Coffey, adding that the snow from the second storm started falling around the time they made it back home.

Coffey said she and Russell were not in fear during the journey. She said they had a few “little scares” when the vehicle turned somewhat sideways.

“We made it very well,” she said. “We just went slow and steady.”

If they met any cars in the road, Coffey would pull over and let them pass. Coffey packed a lunchbox with drinks and snacks, and they had their home health supplies and computers.

Coffey and Russell are both graduates of West Union Attendance Center. Coffey has been a home health nurse for about a year and prior to that worked in the ER of North Mississippi Medical Center. Russell has been a home health nurse for five years.

Their nurse manager, Laurie Ledbetter, said, “I am extremely proud of their adventurous spirit and their dedication to our home care patients. We have had numerous staff over our 17-county area having to use 4-wheel drive vehicles to reach patients this week. This adventure on the Polaris Ranger has probably been the most creative. They surprised the patients with their mode of travel. Home care workers are some of the most resilient workers never letting difficult circumstances prevent them from providing excellent care. I am extremely proud of all of our staff.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Icy roads continue to make travel dangerous throughout Northeast Mississippi Tuesday | News

TUPELO • There were around 100 18-wheelers stacked up east of Fulton early Tuesday morning, waiting for traffic along an ice-slick Interstate 22 to clear enough to get through.

With ice still covering roadways throughout Northeast Mississippi Tuesday, traffic was ground to a halt across the region, especially in hilly areas. Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until Wednesday, when a third round of precipitation is being predicted, so emergency officials don’t expect conditions to improve in the immediate future.

Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan said his deputies had to rescue about 10 stranded motorists, Monday, and asked people to stay off the roads if at all possible.

“With this other round of weather coming through, I feel that road conditions could deteriorate,” Pollan said.

The extended forecast for Northeast Mississippi shows light rain starting Wednesday afternoon and temperatures rising above freezing and staying there through Thursday afternoon. If that forecast holds true, the rain could help melt the ice and clear the roads before the temperatures drop into the upper teens Thursday night.

“That is actually our first guess. This system is not as clear cut as the last one,” National Weather Service Memphis meteorologist Meredith Wyatt said. “We will have a better idea as we get closer to the event. Where the frontal boundary lies makes all the difference (between rain above freezing and sleet with freezing rain).

“We are still forecasting freezing rain, sleet and possible snow,” Wyatt said. “There could also be some cold rain mixed in. Northeast Mississippi could see up to a quarter-inch of ice accumulation with the next system.”

Westbound Interstate 22 was completely shut down for several hours around the Highway 23 and Highway 25 exits in Itawamba County, starting in the predawn hours of Feb. 16.

“There wasn’t an accident, the semi trucks just couldn’t get up the hill,” said Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop F spokesman Staff Sgt. Bryan McGee. “As soon as we heard about it, we contacted (by the Mississippi Department of Transportation). They were able to get out there around 7:30 a.m. and start spreading salt and rock on the road to help get traction.”

McGee said MDOT had a road grader working to both clear the road and help pull trucks to the top of the hill and “get them over the hump.”

By daybreak, there were around 50 trucks stacked up waiting to clear that one section of long, steep hills near the Belmont and Tremont exits off the interstate. MHP officials contacted the Alabama Highway Patrol and Alabama Department of Transportation to spread the road that the road was blocked, but the backlog grew to an estimated 100 trucks before one lane was cleared and opened up around 8:30 a.m.

“With that many trucks, it will still take quite some time for them to clear out,” McGee said Tuesday morning. “We are asking people to avoid that area if possible. Of course, you shouldn’t be out unless it is an emergency. For the most part, people have heeded the warnings.”

Local authorities echo the MHP request for motorists to stay home.

“The roads are still in bad condition and we remind people to stay off the road if possible,” said Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott. “We had one incident Monday where an ambulance on an emergency call was held up due to a road being blocked by a stranded motorist.”

Stranded motorists were a problem for law enforcement all across the region.

“We did help a few people throughout the night,” Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said Tuesday morning. “Some got stranded on the road. We helped some people who made it to their driveways, but couldn’t get to the house.”

In Alcorn County, most people seem to be staying home and staying warm, said Sheriff Ben Caldwell.

“We haven’t had much of an issue with people being stranded,” he said. “Most are staying home. The county roads are covered in ice. People should continue to use caution and stay home if possible.”

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EMCC basketball season set to tip off on Jan. 21 against Northwest Mississippi – Picayune Item

SCOOBA — Primarily comprised of home-and-home series with intra-divisional opponents, East Mississippi Community College’s 2021 men’s and women’s basketball schedules have been announced.

Delayed and shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing virus protocols, the 2021 Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) basketball schedule was voted on by athletic directors from the member schools and approved by the school presidents of the MACC.  The 2021 MACCC basketball schedule consists of 14 divisional games for each of the conference’s 15 schools.  Since the MACCC’s seven-member North Division has one less school than the South Division, the MACCC North teams are slated to play a pair of intra-divisional opponents a third time in addition to the regular home-and-home series.

The MACCC’s composite basketball schedule is set to primarily consist of 17 total game dates slated for Mondays and Thursdays during a two-month regular season.  The opening date is currently set for Jan. 21 with the regular season slated to close out on March 22.  This season due to COVID-19 protocols in place that will likely limit personnel allowed at all MACCC basketball venues, member schools will not be playing men’s/women’s doubleheaders at the same site on a scheduled game night.  Instead, the men’s and women’s contests scheduled between two schools on a given game night will be played at opposite home courts of the participating teams.

East Mississippi’s 2021 basketball season is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Jan. 21 against MACCC North Division foe Northwest Mississippi.  On that night, Coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions will play host to the Northwest Rangers in Scooba, while Coach Sharon Thompson’s reigning conference champion EMCC Lady Lions will travel to Senatobia to take on Northwest in women’s action.  Tip-off times for both games that evening are set for 6 p.m.

EMCC’s MACCC North Division slate will continue with contests against Itawamba (Jan. 28), Northeast Mississippi (Feb. 1), Coahoma (Feb. 4), Holmes (Feb. 8) and Mississippi Delta (Feb. 11).  The second round of the intra-divisional action is set to begin on Feb. 15 and continue through March 15.  EMCC’s teams are scheduled to then meet Northeast and Holmes for a third time this season on March 18 and 22, respectively.

In addition to their 14-game schedule against intra-divisional opponents, the EMCC men are also slated to meet MACCC South Division member Southwest Mississippi during a February home-and-home series.  Following a scheduled 2 p.m. contest on Saturday, Feb. 6 in Scooba, the Lions and Bears are also set to play each other three weeks later (Feb. 27) in Summit.  The Lions are also slated to travel to Meridian Community College to take on the Eagles on Saturday, Feb. 13.  Tip-off for the EMCC-MCC men’s contest is set for 2 p.m. at Graham Gymnasium in Meridian.

All EMCC home men’s and women’s basketball games are scheduled to be live-streamed at www.EMCCAthletics.com/live.


(Home games in all CAPS)

Thurs., Jan. 21 – NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Jan. 28 – at Itawamba – 5:30 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 1 – NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 4 – at Coahoma – 6:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 6 – SOUTHWEST MISSISSIPPI – 2:00 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 8 – HOLMES – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 11 – at Mississippi Delta – 6:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 13 – at Meridian – 2:00 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 15 – at Northwest Mississippi – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 25 – ITAWAMBA – 6:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 27 – at Southwest Mississippi – 2:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 1 – at Northeast Mississippi – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 4 – COAHOMA – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 8 – at Holmes – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 15 – MISSISSIPPI DELTA – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 18 – at Northeast Mississippi – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 22 – HOLMES – 6:00 p.m.


(Home games in all CAPS)

Thurs., Jan. 21 – at Northwest Mississippi – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Jan. 28 – ITAWAMBA – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 1 – at Northeast Mississippi – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 4 – COAHOMA – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 8 – at Holmes – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 11 – MISSISSIPPI DELTA – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 15 – NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 25 – at Itawamba – 5:30 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 1 – NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 4 – at Coahoma – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 8 – HOLMES – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 15 – at Mississippi Delta – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 18 – NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI – 6:00 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 22 – at Holmes – 6:00 p.m.

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Storm to dump heavy snow in parts of Plains, Mississippi Valley

A storm rolling through parts of the Plains and Mississippi Valley will likely bring heavy snow, forecasters warned Sunday. 

Winter storm warnings were in effect across a large swath of the country, from eastern New Mexico to central Mississippi.

“Heavy snow and hazardous travel conditions are likely, especially in Texas,” the Weather Service tweeted Sunday morning.

On its website, the Weather Service said heavy snow could make travel treacherous from west-central Texas to northern Louisiana.

The weather system has also hit the southern Rockies.


Graphic created Jan. 10, 2021 6:10 a.m. CST.

Graphic created Jan. 10, 2021 6:10 a.m. CST.
(National Weather Service/NOAA)

“Areas north of Denver have received the most snow this evening, with a few spots approaching 4″,” Weather Service forecasters in Boulder tweeted early Sunday.

They also warned early morning travelers to beware of patchy dense fog and untreated roads that might be slick from overnight snowfall and freezing temperatures.

Other parts of the U.S. will also be experiencing significant snowfall.

“Snow to spread from Southern Plains to Central Appalachians; thunderstorms possible over southern Texas today,” the Weather Service said in a note released at 2:20 a.m. ET Sunday.


“Rain is likely to spread across the Gulf coast and into the Southeast/Mid-Atlantic over the next couple of days,” it said. “Snow is expected to continue over northern Texas today before spreading across an area extending into the Central Appalachians by Tuesday.”


“Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories have been posted for much of south AR starting later today into Monday,” tweeted the Weather Service office in Little Rock, Ark., on Sunday morning. “Snowfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches will be possible over far southern AR, with generally an inch or less farther to the north.”

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Heavy snow is expected from eastern New Mexico into north-central Texas, forecasters say

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