Warnings issued as storm roars in

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A powerful storm raced through the area this morning, leavingdowned trees and power lines across roads and a few homes damagedin southern Lincoln County, officials said.

Trees were reported on a home on Highway 51 south of BogueChitto. Also, a roof was reported off a home at the intersection ofWindmill Lane and Somerset Road.

“It’s completely blocked. Trees are everywhere,” Lincoln CountyCivil Defense Director Clifford Galey said of Windmill Lane shortlyafter 8 a.m. today.

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Volunteer firefighters, county crews and other emergencypersonnel were responding to blocked roads and downed trees thismorning. Galey reported power outages in the Bogue Chitto, Ruth andEast Lincoln areas.

“We’ve got power lines down in that whole area,” Galey said.

A utility poll was broken and a home damaged on Pleasant HillRoad. Emergency equipment on Mallalieu Road also experiencedproblems because of the storm.

“The storm knocked our antenna off the tank at the southrepeater,” Galey said.

Galey was heading south this morning with his equipment to serveas a communications relay between emergency personnel and the civildefense office. A communications company representative was enroute to work on the antenna.

Galey said there were no reports of injuries during thismorning’s storm. Lincoln County was under a tornado warning from6:58 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.

“Radar indicated a possible tornado, but I haven’t been able toconfirm any,” Galey said.

Galey said hail up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter wasreported. It was mostly south of Highway 84 in the Bogue Chitto,Ruth and East Lincoln areas.

“I’ve had reports where the ground was completely covered,”Galey said. “It looks like it snowed.”

Hail and winds gusting to 70-plus mph were reported in a numberof other south Mississippi counties, including Marion, JeffersonDavis, Walthall and Pike.

Galey said one inch of rain fell at the civil defense officeduring the storm. Higher amounts were expected to have fallenelsewhere.

Areas of Franklin County reported accumulations of hail reaching3 to 6 inches throughout much of the county, said Mark Thornton,the county’s civil defense director. The storm moved through hiscounty around 6:30 a.m.

“Places in Meadville report 6 inches of hail, and in places inBude they are reporting three to six inches of hail,” he said.

In other areas of Franklin County, Independence reported 6inches of hail, the Pleasant Valley community 3 to 6 inches andEddiceton 3 inches, Thornton said.

“We got 1.10 inches of rain in 10 minutes while it was hailinghere,” he said by cell phone in Eddiceton.

Despite the marble- to quarter-sized hail and 50-60 mph winds,Thornton said major damage was light.

“I haven’t had any damage reported, aside from some hail damageto cars and roofs,” he said. “We had just a few limbs downthroughout the county.”

Downed limbs posed considerable problems to the power companies,however.

Lucy Shell, member services director for Magnolia Electric, saidat 8:30 a.m. the company had approximately 2,000 members withoutpower, the majority in Lincoln and Lawrence counties.

“We had scattered outages in the Bogue Chitto area with majordamage reported south of Enterprise and in the Topeka/Jayess area(of Lawrence County) caused by trees down on the lines,” shesaid.

Other outages were reported in south Pike County and reportswere beginning to filter in about outages in Walthall County, shesaid.

Shell said crews had been dispatched to repair the damage andthe utility expected power to be restored by early afternoon.

Lincoln County District Three Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamsonsaid he expected a large number of roads closed in his districtwould be reopened by this afternoon.

At 9:30 a.m., he said, Bogue Chitto Road, Hunters Road, PlateauLane, Topisaw Road, Misty Lane, Pleasant Hill Road, Somerset Lane,Pillars Trail, Rolling Meadows Lane, Grand View Lane and GladeTrail, among others, were still closed.

“We’re still finding them,” Williamson said. “We’re trying toget them all open. We’ve got crews scattered everywhere.”

The supervisor said he knew of at least three homes damaged inhis district by either fallen trees or roofs ripped off by highwinds.