Lincoln County prepares for incoming bad weather

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Reid stepped up to the board of supervisors podium with an update on incoming weather Wednesday morning. Reid warned of storms Thursday and Friday followed by winter weather next week. 

“We are supposed to have high winds Thursday night into Friday morning. More trees could come down. Daylight hours won’t be likely so it will probably be early in the morning. Next week is supposed to be cold,” Reid said. “There is a 30 percent chance of winter precipitation and temperatures could be in the teens with single digit wind chill.”

Reid said he will have to talk with Brookhaven about opening the warming shelter at the Brookhaven Building at 1154 Beltline Drive for the forecasted winter weather. The National Weather Service in Jackson warns of dangerous cold weather next week with Monday night’s low forecast to drop to 17 degrees. 

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Lincoln County is also in the cross hairs of more severe storms this week. NWS Jackson warns more severe storms could hit the area between 7 and 11 a.m. Friday morning. These storms have the potential to have damaging wind gusts of 70 mph, quarter-sized hail and possibly tornadoes. Friday night the wind speeds are forecast to reach sustained speeds of 30 mph with gusts between 40 to 50 mph. There is an 80 percent chance of showers Thursday night and 70 percent chance of rain Friday. 

District 4 Supervisor Eli Ferguson, newly elected, said his first week in the new role has been “fun and interesting.” Severe storms hit Monday night knocking down trees, taking out power and flooding low lying areas. He is ready to tackle any challenges with the future forecast. 

“We are just going to make sure our roads are clear and people can travel safely,” Ferguson said. “I have to be very attentive to my phone. I make sure I get with dispatch and listen for if a resident calls me or dispatch calls me. We will get the issue handled and we did Monday. We will be sitting ready to go and take care of any issues. I have a crew ready to help.” 

Ferguson said he wakes up every day looking forward to serving the community and full of optimism. District 2 Supervisor Keith Lewis has some experience dealing with storms after working for Brookhaven’s Public Works Department before being elected in 2023. 

“That experience has helped me with the contracts. I know how to work with the streets and budgets. I enjoy being someone who serves the people,” Lewis said. “I have a great crew. If it weren’t for our guys we wouldn’t get anything done.” 

District 3 supervisor John Hart, newly elected, said he is learning a lot as well. His first week in the position has been interesting too as he responded to clean up downed trees in the wake of Monday’s storms. 

“Through the fire department I had been involved in storm cleanup before. I have a good group of guys,” Hart said. “We got together and went to work. They worked to clear the roads until 2 a.m. and came back to the barn at 6 a.m. ready to work again Tuesday. We have a few roads under water but they usually get under water when it rains like that. My problem was there were a lot of dead trees. We will be taking down two dead trees today and tomorrow and see what happens Friday. You can prepare for the trees but there is no way to prepare for winter weather.”