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Residents, businesses cope with eight days of rain

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Teacher Kimberly Bass leads her and Ellyn Hairston’s kindergarten students in an interactive sing-along during the rainy Tuesday afternoon at Trinity Episcopal Day School. Bass said her students had been asking to go outside all day, but the rainy weather kept them inside.

NATCHEZ — Rain, rain that won’t go away is more than a hindrance for people from all walks of life.

And as the Miss-Lou begins day eight of dampness, area schools and contractors are moving from plan B straight to plan C.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Manuel Saucedo, left, and Edgar Torres of Hewitt’s Roofing nail down a tarp on the roof of a house on Collins Road in Ferriday Tuesday afternoon while it rains. The workers were tarping houses with leaks while it was raining and are repairing them once the rain stops.

Hunter Ham, a kindergarten student at Trinity Episcopal Day School, couldn’t comprehend why his teacher, Kim Bass, wouldn’t let him outside Tuesday.

“He asked me, ‘Is it because we’ve been bad or because we’ve been loud?’” Bass said with Ham standing nearby. “I felt so bad because they thought they weren’t getting to go out because they got in trouble, so I just had to say, ‘Look outside.’

“But it could be storming and they’ll still ask, ‘Can we go outside?’”

Bass is just one of several teachers at Trinity who has been forced to think up creative ways to spend the 30-minute recess break — normally taken outside on the playground — inside the classroom.

For Bass’ kindergarten students, entertainment has come through a song called “Tooty Ta!” that lets the kids sing and dance along to goofy lyrics.

“I don’t really want them to just watch a movie or draw every day we have to stay inside,” Bass said. “This way, I’m letting them get their wiggles out and be silly, which helps me when it’s time to work.”

Down the hall in Nancy Harveston’s second-grade class, two different YouTube videos — recess rocks and Zumba for kids — keep the students active while maintaining an educational aspect to the break.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Second graders including Addison Brooke Jackson, 7, wave their arms in the air as they follow along to a Zumba for kids video in Nancy Harveston’s classroom Tuesday afternoon at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

“We’ve been studying the skeleton and muscle system, so we tie the videos in for them to learn the body needs rest and exercise,” Harveston said. “At this point with so much rain, even if they’re just jumping up and down, it’s helping release all their pent-up energy.

“We did pray for a little sun, though.”

But second grader Madison Burgess said she doesn’t mind staying inside for recess as long as she gets to see the Zumba videos.

“I’ve been mad that we couldn’t go outside and play, but now I’m so happy because we get to dance,” Burgess said. “I just got tired of drawing and watching movies.”

Rainfall in the Miss-Lou started Wednesday and has remained steady on most days. Since then, 9.92 inches have fallen according to the National Weather Service, often causing problems.

Since the rains started Wednesday, Judy Hewitt, co-owner of Hewitt’s Roofing, has been getting calls at all hours of the night from people needing emergency repairs on their roofs.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Kindergartner Edriana Ford, 6, wears her rain boots as she walks in line with her classmates during PE Tuesday at McLaurin Elementary School.

“I’ve had to transfer the office phones to my cell phone after 5 p.m. just because we’ve been getting so many calls,” Hewitt said. “Our phones haven’t stopped ringing since the rain started.”

Most callers, Hewitt said, have holes in their roofs from debris falling from the heavy rains and winds. Others already had an unstable or problematic roof, but didn’t realize it until the rains started.

But since the rain hasn’t let up, the only solution is to cover the exposed area with a plastic tarp to keep the water from getting inside.

“You can’t put a permanent patch in the roof until it stops raining, so really these are temporary solutions until it stops raining and we can get back out there,” Hewitt said. “I just don’t know if we’ve ever seen rain like this at least not since we’ve opened in the 90s.

“You expect to have some rain around these months, but nothing like this.”

The painting business, Chris Landers said, is all about having back-up plans, and luckily his company, Landers Painting, had a few in place when the rains started last week.

“This time of year you always have to try and plan a certain amount of inside painting jobs just in case you get rain or cold weather that stops you from painting outside,” Landers said. “If you plan ahead and can make those arrangements you’ll do just fine, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

Landers said the majority of his outside painting jobs have been postponed from the rains, but also because of the unexpected cold weather.

“Now we’re finding ourselves working between the rain and freezing weather, so we really have to work around both of those,” Landers said. “And usually when it warms up around this time of year it will start raining again, so there are really only a couple of days between both of those things where you can do outside jobs.”

Cold weather, Landers said, not only affects the painters working on the project, but it also affects the paint itself making it susceptible to damage if applied to the house under 50 degrees.

But luckily for Landers, a few inside painting jobs his company had already lined up will keep him afloat until the weather clears up.

“We’re always trying to line up inside jobs around this time of year just for occasions like this where we have rain or cold weather,” Landers said. “Sometimes you can plan it out that way and sometimes you kind of just have to get lucky.”

The rain is expected to continue Wednesday adding an additional quarter inch to half inch to the total rainfall amount.

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