- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - For the third time in as many weeks, ice fell Thursday from gray winter skies over southeast Louisiana and snowflakes hit some areas farther north.

But unlike last week’s freezing-rain storm - which shut down most of the coastal parishes for several days - so far the frozen stuff was limited to sleet and no road closings were reported. At least one north-central Louisiana school district closed early, however.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Efferson said the Slidell office has fielded calls about snow and sleet in various southeast communities. In Sabine Parish, experts said a light snow fell Thursday morning but quickly melted.

Efferson said the back-to-back weather events in southeast Louisiana are extremely unusual.

“Normally we’d have maybe two in a year,” he said. “Generally there’s a less than 5 percent chance to get this kind of weather.”

Efferson said January, on average, was the eighth coldest for the Gulf South. “It’s been about 30 years since it’s been this cold for this long,” he said.

Meanwhile, freezing temperatures will be felt Friday morning north of Lake Pontchartrain and in southwest Mississippi. As a result, motorists were urged to be cautious in case black ice formed on the roads.

The Department of Transportation and Development said it moved emergency personnel to areas in central Louisiana where a wintry mix was felt. The department said crews are prepared to apply de-icing materials to any affected bridges and roads as necessary.

In northeast Louisiana, the weather service said there was a 20 percent chance of light snow and sleet but accumulation was not expected.

On Friday, the forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of rain after 1 p.m. Temperatures are supposed to be in the high 30s with winds from the northeast at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night into early Saturday, though, the region could see rain or freezing rain. Temperatures overnight were expected to be around 32 with a forecast high on Saturday of 51.

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