Landmark lost during Sunday storm

Published 7:54 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Many Brookhavenites knew about the “Rainbow Barn,” which sat onInterstate 55 and brightened the way for passing motorists with therainbow painted on the side.

And after Sunday night’s storm, it’s gone. Blythe Reid said shegrew up making a wish on the rainbow every time she drovepast.

“As kids our parents taught us to wave and make a wish on the barneach time you passed it,” she said. “To this day I still waved! Itaught my kids to wave at it.”

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The barn, which has been there as long as many people can remember,was damaged during Hurricane Katrina, but apparently took its lasthit Sunday night during the stormy weather that left some arearesidents in the dark and dropped some lightning, but didn’t seemto cause a lot of other damage.

“I’ve been looking at it for 34 years,” said Michelle Smith. “Ican’t believe it lasted this long.”

Reid said as she understands it, the art class at Copiah-LincolnCommunity College painted the rainbow for the owner in 1978. Andever since, it’s been a landmark.

“The Rainbow Barn is a huge deal for Brookhavenites and LincolnCountians,” Reid said.

Otherwise, Entergy Customer Accounts Manager Kenny Goza said therecent heat had made the lightning much more active, which causedpower outages in Entergy’s coverage area.

“That much heat intensifies lighting, this was more of a lightningstorm event than wind,” Goza said.

Entergy had about 1,000 customers out during the storm, Goza said.Each one of their 27 outage cases was related to lightning. He saidthere was a transformer by Rex Lumber that took a direct hit aswell.

“We got everyone back on by about 3 a.m. Monday,” he said.

Magnolia Electric Power Association Member Services Director LucyShell said during the three waves of the storm, which startedaround 3 p.m. Sunday in some areas, Lincoln County had 86 outages,while Lawrence County had 15 and Franklin had 62. She saidMagnolia’s coverage area altogether had 1,433 outages, though theywere not all simultaneous.

“This was a typical thunderstorm, and most of the outages werelightning,” she said. “But there were also a few trees on powerlines and stuff.”

Southwest Mississippi EPA statistics were not available.

Officials from Hog Chain and Bogue Chitto fire departments saidthey were called to a home on Calvary Road where lightning hadstruck an air-conditioning unit and melted some wires.

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said his men didn’t have tocontend with much of the usual flooding calls they get during heavyrainstorms. Their main concern was the thunder and lightningsetting off alarms all over the city.

“We had plenty of those, they ran us ragged on those,” he said.”You don’t take it for granted, but I was comfortable with itbecause I knew it was from the weather and so forth.”

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department reported a tree down and analarm call on Highway 51. Sheriff Steve Rushing said there was anaccident where a single vehicle struck a deer, but that it wasn’tconsidered to be weather-related.

“It wasn’t too bad, considering,” he said.