Storm downs trees, leaves thousands without power; schools closed

Published 1:34 am Thursday, March 30, 2017

A strong storm that hit Lincoln County early Thursday downed trees and left thousands without power.

Multiple trees were reported down in the area, including in downtown Brookhaven, according to the National Weather Service’s storm report. A tree was reported on a home on Pritchard Street and on a home on Old Hwy. 51. At least five homes were hit by fallen trees. Several roads were also blocked.

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said five homes were damaged in the city. He said people were trapped in three of them but did not receive major injuries. Emergency personnel were able to get them out safely. One victim had slight bruising.

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Troy Douglas, who lives at 103 Pritchard St., said his 11-year-old daughter was trapped under debris after a tree fell on their home.

Storm victim describes finding daughter under debris (with video)

Brookhaven schools were closed today due to power outages and trees blocking roads. Lincoln County schools and Brookhaven Academy remained open.

Hwy. 51 was closed between Natchez Avenue and Hwy. 84 early Thursday morning due to a damaged gas line. Officials expect the highway to remain closed most of the day.

County offices are closed due to power outages. Several businesses in downtown Brookhaven were closed Thursday, including The Daily Leader.

As many as 4,000 Entergy customers in the county, mainly in Brookhaven, were without power at one point during the early-morning storm. Southwest MS EPA reported a handful of outages in the county. Outages were also reported in Copiah County.

More strong storms are possible Thursday, mainly after 4 p.m.

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen met in a special session Thursday to discuss the damage and cleanup efforts.

Tree hits East Congress Street home

Irene Perkins Banks was awake when a large tree hit the front of her porch and living room during the storm early Thursday morning.

“It sounded like the whole house was crashing in. It scared me so bad the I said ‘Lord Jesus help me,’” Banks said.

Banks’ home, on 317 East Congress Street, received the worst damage on the street from trees falling. She said all of the damage was on her front porch and rain was coming in during the storm.

“I just thank God I was awake,” she said. “Normally I’m asleep, but God showed favor on me and my grandson, Diante Spiller.”

The tree is on her roof, but did not crash through her ceiling.

“I called my insurance company and they told me to get someone to saw those trees down off the roof as soon as possible,” she said. “Our lights are out and I don’t know when they’ll be back on.”

South Jackson Street home dodges bullet 

Dan Campbell called someone last week about removing two dangerous limbs from the 200-year-old oak tree in the front yard of his South Jackson Street home. Ironically, those were not the limbs that barely missed his house after a severe storm swept through the area.

Campbell woke around 12:30 to what he thought was hail crashing around his house, which sits at the corner of South Jackson Street and Natchez Avenue. He said it sounded like loud machine gun fire.

He rushed out to find out what it was and through flashes of lightning saw part of the oak down in his yard and across the carriage house next to his house that he uses as a carport and workshop.

“We were very blessed it did not come through the house,” he said.

He figured he’d wait until morning to survey the actual damage. His stepdaughter, 9-year-old Ainsley Cox had been sleeping downstairs instead of upstairs in her room, but she crawled into bed with him and her mom, Suzanne, to get some sleep.

Campbell said he tried to sleep but kept waiting to hear more crashes. Fortunately, they never came.

The limbs he’d called about made it through the storm. “There’s nowhere for them to fall but on the house,” he said.

The limbs that did fall will cause the tree to die, so he’ll have it removed completely. The largest limb, which had power lines tangled in the branches, blocked one lane of Natchez Avenue Thursday morning.

More coverage here:

Lincoln County Baptist Association helping storm victims

Storm victim describes finding daughter under debris (with video)