Fast-moving storm leaves some damage in town

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2008

WESSON – Residents are picking through the rubble after somesevere weather tore through the town during the early afternoonhours Wednesday.

Officials said golf ball-sized hail and heavy winds causeddamage throughout the downtown area, while substantial damage wasconcentrated on the northeast side of town.

Entergy Customer Accounts Manager Kenny Goza said around 1,100people lost power during the storms, but crews restored electricityto all by late Wednesday night. In addition, Goza said, severalwires were down, some poles were broken and trees were knocked downover some of the power lines.

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Wesson Ace Hardware owner Tim Sutton said his store sustaineddamage from straight-line winds. Damage included a front windowthat blew out and parts of the roof that were torn off.

“It didn’t take long at all,” he said. “It seemed like it didn’tlast five minutes. We were extremely lucky, because it could havebeen a lot worse.”

Sutton said the damage has been patched and his hardware storewill be open for business on Thursday. He said much of the clothingin his store was water-damaged, however.

Connections Coffee Shop assistant manager Paige Anderson, who isoriginally from the coast, said she is used to hurricane weatherand having time to prepare. She said when Wednesday’s weather hit,it came quickly and fell hard.

“The hail was unbelievable,” she said. “It looked like snow onthe ground there was so much of it, and you could hear it hittingthe buildings and cars. We were standing in the front ofConnections and you couldn’t see the cars parked in front of thebuilding.”

Anderson said their shop sustained a few leaks, but no majordamage.

Police Chief Chad O’Quinn said the only injury reported was acity worker who was one of two men in a city truck when a tree fellon it.

“The fire department was able to cut the tree and the vines toget them out of there,” he said, adding that the driver was sentfrom Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital in Hazlehurst to UniversityMedical Center in Jackson, where he was treated and released lastnight.

O’Quinn said the cleanup efforts are finished. That was in partdue to the help of the Copiah County Sheriff’s Department’s inmatecrew who cut trees out of the road, but also the help ofgood-hearted bystanders.

“We had multiple good Samaritans who got involved and helped thecrews clean,” he said. “We ended up getting the roads cleared in acouple of hours.”