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Normalcy almost in sight

Lincoln County is definitely through the worst of the weatherand normalcy is almost in sight for Brookhaven and Lincoln County,officials said Thursday morning.

“Damage assessment is almost finished, and we have a team comingin from (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and (theMississippi Emergency Management Agency) sometime today, I hope, todo their assessment,” he said.

Galey said while there are still five shelters open in thecounty, many of the evacuees have gone home. There is no officialcount at this point of how many are still here.

“We haven’t had a chance to talk to the shelters this morning,but I will be checking in with them later on today,” he said.

Most of the county’s roads that were blocked by fallen trees andother debris are unblocked now, Galey said.

“Most of our supervisors have their roads passable now,” hesaid. “It’s getting better out there.”

So far civil defense officials have not had a chance to get acount on how many trees were downed in the county, nor how manyhomes were damaged by the storm, but Galey said those numbers arecoming. FEMA and MEMA will be a large part of the final count onthose statistics, he said.

Galey said there is hope on the horizon.

“We’re working on getting things back to normal now,” hesaid.

Entergy Customer Services Manager Kenny Goza said Entergy’sLincoln County customers finally have their power restored afterhis crews worked long hours in the bad weather.

“To our knowledge, we are 100 percent,” he said. “It took a lotof hard work, and it took a lot of different resources and planningand a lot of good help from our local guys as well as outsideresources.”

A release from Magnolia Electric Power Association said it stillhad 6,239 meters out as of Thursday morning, but that Magnoliacrews and contract crews were continuing to work to restore them.The release said the emphasis has shifted to outages in Amite andFranklin counties, which received extensive damage during thehurricane.

“We do still have 388 meters off as of last night in LincolnCounty,” said Member Services Director Lucy Shell. “We do stillhave crews in the Lincoln County area working, and we hope thatservice will be restored by the end of the day.”

Shell said anyone in the Lincoln and Lawrence County area whodoes not have power by Thursday night should call Magnolia aboutthe outage in order to get it on the outage log. The number is(601) 833-7011.

Shell said there are also still 56 meters out in LawrenceCounty, as well as 894 in Franklin County.

Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association reports that itstill has 2,864 customers out in Lincoln, Copiah, and Franklincounties.

“We ask for your patience as we, along with additional crewsfrom outside our area, work to restore power in the areas affectedby the storm,” said a statement released by Southwest PublicRelations Officer Azalea Knight.

Southwest officials said customers should be prepared to bewithout power for a minimum of four more days.

Goza said customers have been patient and understanding, andthat power officials have been grateful for the leeway.

“That allowed us to do our job and get service restored in asafe and timely manner,” he said. “We had three intense days ofconstant work, and no one was injured in any way. We worked safely,and hard, to restore power as soon as possible, and we’re gratefulfor the public’s understanding.”