Damage less than expectedPublished 12:08am Friday, August 31, 2012
VIDALIA — Gary Haygood’s business sat unscathed through hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav and everything else Mother Nature brought its way in the last 25 years. Thursday morning, the story was different.
Haygood Family Dental Clinic was on a short list of structures in Concordia Parish that received significant damage Wednesday night and Thursday morning as a result of Tropical Storm Isaac.
The storm didn’t pack the expected punch, bringing only 40 mph sustained winds and 45 mph gusts with less than three inches of rainfall.
Still, the winds were enough to peel back the roof of Haygood Family Dental Clinic on Carter Street in Vidalia.
“This building used to have a flat roof and then they built a hip roof over that, so it was really just the hip roof that got torn off,” Haygood said. “I didn’t know anything about it until I pulled into work at about 15 minutes until 8 a.m.”
Rainwater soaked the carpet in the patient waiting area, but Haygood said that was just a fraction of the possible damage.
The larger more expensive equipment — one piece valued at approximately $100,000 — used to examine patient’s teeth on a daily basis received no water damage, Haygood said.
And to ensure that equipment remained dry and functioning properly, crews from Mike Smith Roofing worked to remove the old roof and install a temporary one Thursday until a permanent fixture can be installed.
Haygood said the business will handle emergency dental situations as needed, but will be closed for a week or two while a new roof is installed.
“We’ve been so fortunate in the years past to not have any damage, so if we had to receive some damage, I’d rather get something like this that can be easily fixed,” Haygood said. “It was all just little things that got damaged, so we’re definitely blessed.”
Blessed was the consensus around the Miss-Lou when the sun rose on the damage Thursday.
The storm, which weakened before arriving in the early evening, was predicted to dump a whopping 10 inches on the area.
“The way those rain bands trained in here, Franklin County got six inches, Lincoln and Pike counties got more than that, but it just seemed to dissipate when it came to the Adams County line,” Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said.
The worst storm damage was located in the eastern side of Adams County, especially in the Cranfield area, County Road Manager Robbie Dollar said.
Road crews worked through the night and into the day, with reinforcements coming in at 7 a.m. Thursday and the longest-suffering workers going home at 2:30 p.m. Most of the road crews’ work focused on clearing trees out of the road.
Thursday evening, Dollar said the highest-volume roads that were still blocked were Palestine Road, Carmel Church Road and Old Courthouse Road at Jack Kelly Road.
Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said during the storm only two accidents occurred, one on Liberty Road and the other on Redd Loop Road.
A tree fell onto a vehicle being used to deliver a pizza around 9 p.m. on Liberty Road, and a vehicle left the road during the storm and struck a tree on Redd Loop Road.
The accidents only resulted in minor injuries, Mayfield said.
While the sheriff’s office had between 15 and 20 patrol vehicles on the roads during the storm, Mayfield said the only incident the sheriff’s office saw was to the sheriff’s own patrol vehicle when a tree limb flew through the windshield while he was on Low Water Bridge Road.
A local auto glass dealer was able to replace the windshield within an hour, he said.
The sheriff praised deputies — some of whom were equipped with chainsaws before the storm — and Adams County Search and Rescue volunteers for working together well during the storm to help keep the roads clear.
Owens said such collaboration was one of the most noteworthy things about the storm.
“This was the smoothest operation of this magnitude that I have been a part of because of the cooperation,” Owens said. “The city departments and the county departments rolled up their sleeves, my search and rescue volunteers were out there working with paid individuals; it was just teamwork, teamwork, teamwork.”
While roads were cleared, local power companies worked to restore electricity where they could.
Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association Spokeswoman Azalea Knight said that by Thursday evening the electric cooperative had 11,000 meters out of service, and that in Adams County that number was down to between 2,500 and 3,000. Customers can expect power to be restored by the end of the weekend, she said.
Crews from other cooperatives in Mississippi and Alabama helped Southwest Thursday, and Knight said more would be arriving in the area today.
Some of Southwest’s substations were down Thursday, and Knight said getting those restored to service would go a long way to getting things back to normal.
Natchez Entergy Customer Service Manager Tim Runnels said approximately 2,300 people were without power as of 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Runnels said power was restored in Roselawn subdivision and part of Lagrange Road Thursday afternoon. Crews are working on restoring power to Melrose Avenue, Montebello and Liberty Road today, but he said it could be Friday or Saturday before those areas will receive power.
Runnels said some areas might not receive power until Saturday or Sunday.
Entergy had a 40-man crew headed to Natchez and the surrounding areas Thursday afternoon to assist with power restoration, Runnels said.
Initial Entergy assessments reported, Runnels said, that the company has 25 broken poles and six transformers that have to be replaced.
“That’s not everything,” he said. “We haven’t been able to assess all the damage.”
Runnels said crews were working Thursday evening to energize sections of the long-distance transmission lines that were damaged causing all of Franklin and Wilkinson counties to lose power.
The crews, he said, would energize a section of the line from Roxie back to Natchez to see if it will hold, then Meadville to Roxie, Liberty and then Woodville.
“They’re doing it the smart way, energizing it in sections to see if it holds, instead of energizing the whole thing and risking losing it,” Runnels said.
Only 100 Vidalia residents lost power in the storm, but all customers were fully electrified by early Thursday afternoon, Vidalia Utility Superintendent Mark Morace said.
“There were a lot of limbs falling because of the wind blowing and some of the lines slapping together, but we got on the calls pretty quick,” Morace said. “This storm wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past, but it was bad enough.”
Entergy Louisiana’s automated outage reporting service indicated approximately 172 Concordia Parish customers were without power Thursday evening.
Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said parish crews worked to remove a large number of downed trees and limbs, but that they were fortunate to not have any major issues.
“We kept the crews up until midnight and they started back in the morning just clearing trees and limbs,” Ferrington said. “We were just blessed that we didn’t get what we initially thought we were going to get from this storm.”
Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Hedrick said deputies responded to approximately 35 downed trees throughout the parish.
“We still have deputies patrolling, but everything has calmed down,” Hedrick said. “We’re expecting some more winds and rain Thursday night and (today).”
The last of Isaac’s rain-wrapped bands is predicted to move through the area today.