Weekend Storms

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In sequel to May, 8,000-plus lost power in Friday’s storm

By John Howell Sr.

Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association reported approximately 8,210 customers were without power following an intense storm system Friday afternoon.

By Monday afternoon, power to all customers had been restored unless a structure’s electrical connection had been damaged, TVEPA communications manager Marlin Williams said.

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Heavy rains began between 3 and 4 p.m. Friday afternoon followed by strong winds estimated to have reached 60 to 70 miles per hour in gusts.

The winds and rain were accompanied by a darkness quite unnatural for a June afternoon.

“The first outages began around 4:30 p.m. Friday. TVEPA crews worked long hours to clean trees off of lines, rebuild lines and helped restore power for our members,” Williams said.

“Some lengthy outages were due to broken poles and numbers of large trees which fell from off of the right-of-way. It was all hands on deck as office workers were called in to answer phone calls as well,” he said.

An unofficial rain gauge on Eureka Street in Batesville caught 5.5 inches of water during the storm, most within two hours Friday afternoon.

The downpour and strong winds coincided with Batesville’s heavy Friday afternoon traffic. Emergency responders coped with flooded streets and parking lots.

Highway 35 was blocked at Kelly’s One Stop near the Highway 51 overpass because of the runoff flooding the street.

 “I want to thank our TVEPA employees for working tirelessly throughout the weekend to help restore power for our members,” TVEPA general manager Brad Robison said. “It was a collective effort, which took many hours. I also want to thank our members for their patience and kind words.  We are so thankful that no one was seriously hurt as these storms blew through our communities.”

The June 12 storm followed by about five weeks a May 6 storm which struck Panola County with strong, damaging winds. That storm followed almost 12 inches of rainfall in as many days and uprooted trees, blowing them onto homes, fences and power lines.

In Friday’s storm, the ground was less saturated and tree roots were believed to have been better anchored.

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced Monday that approximately 2,000 customers of Entergy Mississippi and 400 customers of North Central Electric Power Association continued to be without power in the Desoto County area due to heavy storms that moved across North Mississippi over the weekend.

 “According to reports by Entergy and North Central Electric Power Association almost all consumers who can receive power should have it restored today” Presley said.

“The PSC has been working closely with Entergy and other electric power associations to make sure residents get their power restored as soon and as safely as possible,” he added.