Lili leaves rain, little damage in county

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 7, 2002

Lincoln County apparently dodged another bullet Thursday as windand rain from a weaker than expected Hurricane Lili moved throughthe area but caused minimal damage.

Clifford Galey, civil defense director, said emergency officialswere busy fielding calls from concerned citizens as the stormapproached. However, the storm did not have the expected impact onthe area.

“It actually died a quicker death than they thought it would,”Galey said. “We fared a lot better than the one last week,actually.”

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Galey said Harvey Drive remained closed this morning and countyofficials were out checking other roadways.

“We had several roads closed because of high water, but theyshould be back open,” Galey said.

The civil defense office closed Thursday night at 10 o’clockafter a tornado watch expired. The area remained under a flashflood watch until 10 p.m., but Galey said high water in the futurewould likely affect those closer to a river.

“It’ll be more of a concern for folks along the Pearl River,”Galey said. “I think we’re in pretty good shape here.”

Other officials echoed Galey’s sentiments.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said Lincoln County SheriffLynn Boyte.

Boyte said he knew of one tree down in the Lott-Smith, Old RedStar Road area and some power outages in the West Lincolncommunity.

“Other than that, I don’t know of anything we had that was outof the ordinary,” Boyte said.

In the city, Police Chief Arlustra “Pap” Henderson also reportedno problems.

“It was just wind and rain,” Henderson said. “But as far as anyproblems, we didn’t have any.”

County Administrator David Fields said he had not heard fromsupervisors regarding any major storm-related problems.

“I think we pretty much made it through this one better andprobably with not as much rain as Isidore,” Fields said, referringto the tropical storm that moved through the area last week.

Isidore dropped over eight inches of rain in the county lastweek. That storm downed trees and power lines and some roads andbridges had to be closed, but officials said the county wasfortunate damage was not worse.

Emergency officials were concerned Thursday about more rain onalready-saturated ground. With 2.23 inches recorded at theBrookhaven Waste Water Treatment Plant, Lili’s impact was a goodbit less than Isidore.

Like last week, local hotels were booked solid as Louisianaresidents moved away from the storm. This week, though, a shelterwas needed to handle some evacuees.

The American Red Cross opened a relief shelter at First BaptistChurch early Thursday morning to accommodate 33 southern Louisianaevacuees.

Joe Davis, church volunteer, said the evacuees were able to takea nap, get a meal and get an update on the storm during their shortstay.

“We made them as comfortable as we could,” Davis said. “The daywent smoothly.”

Davis said First Baptist had far fewer evacuees with Lili thanwith Hurricane Georges in 1998. That year, almost 200 people cameto the church.

By 1:30 p.m., Lili evacuees had left and were returning toLouisiana.

“It looked like the storm was going far enough west that I-55would be clear enough for them to get back,” Davis said.

Area utility company officials reported scattered power outages,but most customers had power restored by midnight.

Lucy Shell, member services director for Magnolia Electric, saidthere were no problems in Lincoln County. Across Magnolia’s system,she said there were about 3,000 outages during the storm

“We had a crew working through the night to catch the scatteredtrouble,” Shell said.

Jim Hedges, customer service manager for Entergy, estimated lessthan 1,000 Lincoln County customers experienced power outages dueto the storm. Across Entergy’s system, there were scatteredoutages.

“We kept getting gusts of wind that caused another rash ofoutages,” Hedges said.

Hedges said most customers had power restored by midnight. Someoutages that were not discovered and reported until this morningwere still be addressed, he said.

Also, statewide, Hedges said about 10,000 customers were stillwithout power. Those were in the Vicksburg, Kosciusko and Grenadaareas and due to storm aftermath in those areas.