JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — At least one death has been linked to a winter storm system that dumped 2 to 4 inches of snow in central parts of Mississippi on Thursday.
The Highway Patrol said the fatality was in Lowndes County. Patrol spokesman Cpl. Criss Turnipseed says 64-year-old Johnnie A. Matthews of West Point died when his car collided with a downed tree about 5 a.m. on Mississippi Highway 50.
Turnipseed said the large pine tree in the roadway appeared to have been uprooted by wind and ground saturation due to excessive rainfall ahead of Thursday's storm.
"The highway was slippery from the icy conditions," Turnipseed said.
No other fatalities have been reported.
The National Weather Service said that by early afternoon, snow was melting away across the state.
The winter storm system has moved into Alabama and toward other parts of the Southeast.
Meteorologist Joanne Culin in Jackson said sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 40s should return to the state Friday behind the storm system.
Forecasters said temperatures should get into the middle to upper 40s in central Mississippi before dropping into the 20s Thursday night.
Sunny to partly cloudy conditions were expected in the Delta and central and north-central counties.
Culin said most highways should be in good shape.
"There may be some places where the precipitation hasn't melted sufficiently, but most everything should melt before we get down to freezing," she said.
In areas of North Mississippi, sunny to partly sunny to partly cloudy conditions prevailed from DeSoto County south of Memphis to Tupelo in the northeast.
Early Thursday, the storm left around 3 inches of snow on the ground in the Jackson metro area, with two inches northward through the Yazoo City and Grenada areas and to the east around Starkville an inch or so, according to the Weather Service.
The last time central Mississippi got at least 2 inches of snow was in February of 2010, and areas north of Jackson had decent accumulations more recently. Areas of north Mississippi got some snow in November and December of 2011, but less than 2 inches.
Areas in south Mississippi were expected to get more rain Thursday before a gradual clearing off.