Rain brings flooded roads, some damage

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 13, 2009

A Sunday night storm system that dumped enough water to causeflash flooding across the southern part of the county had at leastthree motorists stranded in the water, trapped inside or on top oftheir vehicles, authorities said.

“We did have three people that drove off in it, I don’t know howmany more,” said Lincoln County Civil Defense Director CliffordGaley. “Any time the water is over any road you should not attemptto go through it because even if the water isn’t deep, there’s apossibility that the road is washed out under there.”

The stranded motorists were able to be rescued and there were noinjuries.

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Galey said Sunday’s rain that started between 6 and 7 p.m. wasthe main source of the damage, with a few trees down across roadsaround the county, but about 30 roads covered with water by lateron in the evening.

“That was flash flooding,” said Galey. “They were all south ofHighway 84, all the way from the east county line to west countyline.”

There were no reports of hail or damaging winds in LincolnCounty, Galey said, but a few trees were reported down around thecounty.

“There were a couple on power lines that had the road blocked,and some scattered in the county,” he said. “I know there was oneon Highway 51 between Stoneybrook on the city limits.”

Galey said gauges at his office recorded 3 inches of rain. Hesaid an official total has not been determined.

Meanwhile, officials in Lawrence County also said there was nowind or hail damage, but flooding damaged a few structures aroundthe county.

“We had four structures that had water come in: one home andthree businesses,” said Assistant Fire Chief Hugh Summers.

There was also a canopy over a gas station that collapsed and abusiness where water runoff from the roof peeled off a smallsection of the wall, Summers said.

There were a few trees down countywide, and Summers saidLawrence County rescue workers also dealt with several motoristswho tried to cross flooded roads.

“After we barricaded off a washout, a vehicle with three peoplewent around the barricade, and it was big enough washout youcouldn’t see the SUV,” he said. “We had to extricate them. That wasthe third vehicle that went off in there.”

He, too, stressed that when motorists can’t see the road becauseit’s covered in water, they do not need to be driving throughit.

Copiah County EMA Director Randle Drane said Copiah County had atree down on Highway 51 just north of Crystal Springs. He said twovehicles had hit the tree but there were no injuries.

On the power front, officials said customers had minimalinterruptions during the storm.

“Compared to the weather, very little, just a few scatteredthroughout the county,” Entergy Customer Accounts Manager KennyGoza said. “As far as I know everyone’s back up except one littleoutage we didn’t know about until this morning, but everything weknew about is back on.”

Southwest Mississippi EPA Public Relations Director AzaleaKnight said members in Copiah, Lawrence and Franklin counties hadvery few problems on their system as well.

“They were strictly scattered and isolated,” she said Mondaymorning. “Everyone in those service areas were back on before 10last night.”