Round 2: Strong storms hit again

Published 12:42 am Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Survey crews with the National Weather Service expect to be in Lincoln County today to determine if winds that snapped tree tops Monday came from a tornado.

And while cleanup continues following 90 mph straight-line winds Thursday morning and the severe storms Monday morning, more severe weather is expected tonight, said John Moore, a meteorologist with the NWS in Jackson.

Moore said storms are expected in the area late tonight with high winds and more rain. Flooding in low-lying areas is probable.

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Lincoln Countians were out assessing the damage and starting the cleanup process Monday morning.

Homes, sheds and carports along Dunn-Ratcliff Road and Old Red Star Drive were damaged by fallen trees. The storm hit at about 1:30 a.m.

Seven homes were damaged, according to officials. Thirty-five roads were blocked by trees and powerlines at one point Monday morning. Several roads in the county were also underwater.

Residents on Windwood Terrace were busy sawing limbs and cleaning up.

“Last night I thought it was straight-line winds but as daylight came and I saw the tops blown out of the trees I thought it was a tornado. The damage is circular. There’s no one direction it came from,” Jerry Hoeniges said as he raked limbs.

His home had shingle damage but no trees on it. He was out with his son cleaning up in his neighbors’ yards.

“Today’s a cleanup day. A day to reflect on the blessings of God,” he said about being thankful the damage wasn’t worse.

On Dunn-Ratcliff Road, residents were out with tractors helping neighbors clear fallen trees and limbs.

Garrett Dunn’s carport was damaged but his house was spared.

“I’m alive,” he said over the sound of a nearby tractor.

His work truck parked at a shed behind the house was damaged when the shed collapsed on it.

“It scared the fire out of me. It was loud, real loud,” Dunn said. “If it was a tornado, I’m going to say we were on the edge of it.”

Most of the hardwoods on his property were snapped or blown down. At a property down the road, pieces of tin from a barn were scattered in a pasture.

Trees were also blown down along Hwy. 51 north of Brookhaven and on Jackson Street in Brookhaven.

Debris from a nearby billboard damaged homes at Quality Homes of Brookhaven on Jakes Trail. Several trees were blown down along that road.

Moore said he could not say if the storm in Lincoln County was a tornado until a survey team arrived today. “It’s looking pretty interesting on the radar,” he said. “It’s definitely something we’ll go survey.”

Power lines and power poles were damaged by the storm. More than 300 Entergy customers were without power Monday night. Magnolia Electric Power reported 450 customers without power earlier Monday, and Southwest Mississippi EPA had about 2,400 without power. Most, if not all, were restored by Monday night.

Southwest MS EPA said 33 linemen, servicemen and right-of-way crew members worked through the night and into Monday on Hwy. 550, Zetus Road, Dunn-Ratcliff Road, Old Red Star Drive and Jackson-Liberty Road.

Crews are still assessing the damage, but Southwest MS EPA has determined that at least seven poles are broken, five of which hold three-phase lines, on Dunn-Ratcliff and Old Red Star. In addition, several cross-arms in the area are stripped and will have to be replaced.

One person used the Brookhaven Building that was opened as a shelter, but it was empty by 2:30 a.m., said Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey.

The NWS issued a flood warning for the Pearl River near Monticello affecting Lawrence County following heavy rain early Monday. Flooding of the Pearl River is also expected near Rockport affecting Copiah and Simpson counties and near Columbia affecting Marion County.

At 9:15 p.m. Monday the stage was 20.5 feet with moderate flooding forecast. Flood stage is 22 feet. The river will rise above flood stage by early today and will continue to rise to near 26 feet by Saturday morning. This crest compares to a previous crest of 27.8 feet on March 20, 2016.

At 26.5 feet flooding occurs near the Highway 84 bridge at the Atwood Water Park. At 26 feet water covers Old Highway 27 about seven miles north of Monticello near St. James M.B. Church. At 25 feet water begins to flood lower portions of Cooper`s Ferry Park in Monticello. At 24 feet water appears in low areas in the extreme eastern portion of Monticello. At 22 feet water inundates some lowland and agricultural land near the river.