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Coldest airmass in decades descends on Mississippi; record temps likely

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After a fairly mild weekend, the coldest airmass in decades is plunging down into Mississippi and expected to result in a prolonged period of freezing temperatures through early this week.

An arctic cold front moved through the state Sunday evening with temperatures quickly falling from highs in the 60s to near or blow freezing by midnight. Temperatures are forecast to continue to fall through early Monday, bottoming out in the single digits to the north and teens and low 20s across central and southern sections of the state.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warns that temperatures could remain below freezing for more than 60 hours, and that an extended period of temperatures below 15 degrees can cause ruptured water pipes and threaten vegetation and animals. Strong winds could knock down large limbs and power lines.

"An extended period of below freezing temperatures will be hazardous for people, livestock and pets. Ruptured water pipes
are also very likely," the NWS said.

Much of the state is under hard freeze warnings and wind chill advisories due to the extreme nature of the arctic airmass.

Though Monday will be cold with frigid highs only in the teens and 20s, Mississippians will experience the most extreme low temperatures early Tuesday. Lows are forecast to bottom out between five and 15 degrees statewide.

Jackson is one of several cities around the state projected to break record lows during this extreme weather event. The record low on Tuesday is 16 degrees set way back in 1924. The forecast low is around 11 degrees.

Temperatures won't rise above freezing until about noon on Wednesday. In the second half the week, temperatures should return to where they were before the arctic front arrived in the 50s and 60s.

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