Storm brings power outages, heavy rain to Lincoln County

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2002

Lincoln County saw more than six inches of rain, downed powerlines and trees and a number of accidents late Wednesday and earlyThursday as Tropical Storm Isidore made landfall and headed north,emergency officials said.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galeyreported trees down on Highway 51 at Earl’s Trail, Bessonette Laneat East Lincoln, in the city on Chickasaw Street near the Oak Treeand elsewhere. A tree also fell on a Storm Avenue home, cityofficials said.

The heaviest rain from the storm began around 10 p.m.Wednesday.

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“I don’t think it’s quit since,” Galey said.

Since 10 a.m. yesterday, six inches of rain had fallen at thecivil defense office.

“We’ve actually had more than that,” Galey said, pointing thatsix inches is the most the gauge will hold.

At the Brookhaven Waste Water Treatment Plant, officials said5.5 inches had fallen in the 24-hour period from 7:30 a.m.Wednesday to 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Galey said Lincoln County was under a flash flood warning until9:35 a.m. Thursday. The wind advisory had also been issued, andGaley reported winds of 25-30 miles per hour with higher gustspossible.

“They’re expecting another three to five inches before it’s overthis afternoon,” Galey said.

Galey was monitoring the storm as it moved north towardMississippi and Lincoln County. He encouraged people to be weatherconscious.

“From what I can tell, it may have slowed down a bit. It may notbe over with until this evening,” Galey said, adding that the rainlikely would not stop until around 5 p.m. “That’s if we’relucky.”

Galey said there were no storm-related injuries.

Area officials reported several accidents, mainly due to fallentrees and limbs.

“There are a lot of trees down, and they will continue to fallbecause the ground is so saturated,” said Mississippi HighwayPatrol Trooper James Lambert. “We caution all drivers to takeprecautions and drive safely.”

Jim Hedges, customer service manager for Entergy, said theBrookhaven area was fortunate so far. About 750 Brookhaven areacustomers were without power around 7 a.m., he said.

“The last count I got at 8 a.m. was that number had been loweredto 430,” Hedges said.

Hedges said the power outages were scattered and due to fallinglimbs hitting power lines or transformers. In other areas, Hedgessaid Magee had about 1,000 customers without power while 1,400 inMcComb lacked power.

“We’ve got additional crew help and tree-trimming helpthroughout the area,” Hedges said. “All that came in last night. Wewere geared up and ready to go this morning.”

Hedges said crews expected to be fighting outages all day andmay lose ground at times as the area sees more effects of thestorm.

“We’ll continue to supplement our work force and keep at ituntil we get everything back on,” Hedges said.

As motorists are out and about, Hedges said they may encounterdowned power lines. He encouraged them to treat the line as hot,stay away and report the downed line to Entergy.

In Lawrence County, emergency officials reported about 10 treesdown as of 9 a.m. Civil defense workers and volunteer firefighterswere out working to remove them.

In Brookhaven, Police Chief Arlustra “Pap” Henderson said therewere some fallen limbs on power lines. Other than that, he said, itwas mostly high wind and rain.

“We can deal with it if that’s all we have,” Henderson said.

Some low-lying areas were also reported flooded. County crewswere working to remove trees from blocked roadways.

Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte reported a few accidents andtrees down on county roads. He was hopeful the storm would movethrough without any major problems.

“If it don’t get any worse, we ought to be OK,” Boyte said.

Students in the Lincoln County School District and at BrookhavenAcademy were able to stay at home Thursday after officials decidedit would be unsafe for students to be transported to and fromschool in the rainy and windy weather conditions.

“We transport most of our students on school buses, and we feltit would be unsafe to have children on the buses,” said LincolnCounty Superintendent of Education Perry Miller.

He also mentioned the possibility of wind gusts over 40 milesper hour, and road conditions as factors in making the decision toclose schools.

“I know that this morning several roads in the county were underwater,” he said.