UPDATE: Driving conditions and road closures in the Pine Belt

This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Icy conditions remain extremely hazardous in the southern half of the state and motorists are asked to stay off the roads and highways until at least noon today.

Highway 49 in Magee is completely shut down, both northbound and southbound lanes.

In the Meridian area, driving conditions are very dangerous. The I-20/I-59 split is impassible. I-59 southbound is impassible. Westbound I-20 from the 20/59 split is impassible.

In the Hattiesburg area, icy conditions exists throughout the pine belt and many roads and highways are impassible.

Tractor-trailer traffic is asked to avoid traveling south on I-55, south of Jackson. The big rigs cannot negotiate hills and will stranded.

Driving conditions are still treacherous in many areas south of I-20.

Up to midnight last night, the Mississippi Highway Patrol had 358 reports of crashes in the southern half of the state.