Storm dumps nearly a foot of rain on Lincoln County

Published 9:39 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

After two days of torrential downpours, Lincoln County may start to dry out today.

Scattered showers are still possible today, but its only a 10 percent chance, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

There is also a slight chance Thursday, but will become more likely Thursday and Friday with a 60 percent chance of rain Saturday. It’s expected to be clear Sunday, she said.

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Meterologists on Monday expected a dryer Tuesday. That didn’t happen.

“The way the storms were moving, they kept hanging over south central Mississippi,” Wolverton said. “There is a lot of moisture in the air right now. That’s why so much rain fell.”

The flash flooding Monday soaked the ground enough that a large tree toppled onto a Waste Pro garbage truck Tuesday as it was traveling along East Washington Street near Rogers Street. The driver and passenger were able to climb out and were not injured, Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins said.

“Our drivers were driving down the road and they said they heard a crack and a loud pop on the roof of the vehicle,” said Waste Pro site manager John Gibson. “They came to a stop and got out of the vehicle and it was a tree.”

The continuous rain Tuesday caused several families in Lincoln County and within the city to need assistance leaving their homes.

Several families were rescued Tuesday morning after heavy rain flooded a creek and pushed water into the yards of several mobile homes on Jakes Trail, Lincoln County Emergency Manager Clifford Galey said.

Deputies with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, firefighters with New Sight Volunteer Fire Department and an officer with Brookhaven Police Department assisted Lincoln County Emergency Management with the evacuation, he said.

Police Cpl. Jonathan Alford drove BPD’s recently purchased humvee, which was used to get several residents and at least one dog out of their homes, which were surrounded in some places by four feet of water from a nearby creek which usually dumps into the Bogue Chitto River.

“The water came up and they didn’t have any way to get out, so we went in and got them,” Galey said.

The rescue was some time after 10 a.m. By noon, the water started to recede, he said.

New Sight VFD Chief Cory Smith said several of his volunteers joined the other first responders to help get the people out safely. He’s used to high water in that area.

“It’s never been a rescue before, but it floods every time we get a torrential rain,” he said.

The humvee was also used a few times within the city limits for some water rescues, Collins said.

Residents at multiple locations in flooded areas of the city called for assistance from police because they couldn’t get out of their homes, he said. No injuries were reported.

Ken Powell said about five feet of water had accumulated behind R.B. Wall.

“We have a creek back behind the store that swelled pretty quickly,” he said. “We had some log trucks back there and the owners started getting nervous when the water was getting close to the cabin, so they moved them out of there. We did have an 8,000- and 10,000-pound tanks move around from the water and our dumpster got carried off in the creek.”

Powell said it was the most water he’d seen there in 30 years.

“We had close to 8 inches of water knocking up against the store, but our employees kept doing their jobs and serving customers and pumping gas,” he said.

The NWS estimates that as much as 11 inches of rain has fallen in the area in the past 48 hours.

Part of Brookhaven Street near Hwy. 550 collapsed Tuesday, crumbling into the ditch, Collins said. Officers placed barricades up, but several motorists apparently moved the barricades several times throughout the afternoon drive through, Collins said.

Other roads, like Monticello, Washington and Center streets and West Industrial Park Road, were closed due to flooding and reopened as the water receded, said Brookhaven Street Department Supervisor Burt Wilson.

According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Hwy. 43 between New Hebron and Joe Buckley Road is closed until further notice due to flooding.

Reporter Matt Rushing contributed to this report.