Cleanup in Brookhaven continues

Published 1:31 am Friday, March 31, 2017

Thirty-one homes were damaged by debris in the severe storm that ripped through Brookhaven in the early morning hours Thursday.

A survey team from the National Weather Service in Jackson determined the majority of damage was caused by straight-line wind which peaked at 90 mph, said intern meteorologist Shannon Hefferan.

She said today and Saturday were expected to be clear and sunny, but the weather could turn nasty again Sunday afternoon. “It could be another event with severe weather,” she said.

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Hefferan said heavy rainfall is expected Sunday night into Monday morning with the potential for flooding and strong wind.

Cleanup continued today following Thursday’s storm that downed numerous trees and left thousands without power.

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said 31 homes were damaged in the city. He said people were trapped in three of them but did not receive injuries. Emergency personnel were able to get them out safely.

One 11-year-old girl was bruised after a tree crashed through the roof of her home, dropping large chunks of the ceiling on her as she slept.

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. Several roads were also blocked.

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

Brookhaven Superintendent Ray Carlock said power was restored to all campuses by Thursday night except for Alexander Junior High so classes were cancelled again for today.

Hwy. 51 was closed between Natchez Avenue and Hwy. 84 Thursday due to a damaged gas line. The stretch of highway was reopened to traffic late Thursday.

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.

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

Aldermen signed a proclamation Thursday that will help the city recover some expenses for employee overtime hours and fuel used in storm cleanup.

Mayor Joe Cox and all aldermen were present to sign the proclamation.

“We have to make sure everything is documented,” Galey said. “If we are lucky enough for there to be some federal assistance, we’ll be ahead of the game and have all of that written down.

“It might not be enough damage to get a (disaster) declaration, but that proclamation is the first step for us.

Galey said FEMA and Red Cross workers will give him a damage assessment that will include a complete list of damaged homes with addresses.

The Brookhaven Police Department was out early  Thursday morning to help clear streets and direct traffic.

There was also about $6,000 in damage to fences and bleachers at the Hansel King sports complex.

“I just want to encourage everybody to stay out of the way of these cleanup crews. Entergy and our guys are out there trying to get these streets clean and restore power,” Cox said. “Times like this is when the best of people come out and they all pitch in … I’m blessed to be here and that nobody was injured or killed in this situation.”

The Brookhaven Building opened at 5 p.m. Thursday as a shelter for anyone who needed a place to stay temporarily until power to all parts of the city was restored.

Located at 1154 Beltline Drive, the shelter was to be operated by the Red Cross, Galey said.

The no-pet shelter was opened mainly for those with medical needs that require electricity, he said.

By 8 p.m., no one had used it, he said.

At 10 p.m. Thursday night, more than 1,500 Entergy customers remained without power.