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Winter weather brings down trees, power in Miss-Lou

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Freezing rain coated trees, cars and power lines in the Miss-Lou causing residents to be without power and some schools to close. A tree collapsed on a car on Wisteria Lane and took down power line as well.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Freezing rain coated trees, cars and power lines in the Miss-Lou causing residents to be without power and some schools to close. A tree collapsed on a car on Wisteria Lane and took down power line as well.

NATCHEZ — At 2 a.m. Wednesday, Marilyn Campbell heard a loud crash that she knew could only be one thing — ice accumulation had taken down a tree near her house.

The power was out, though, and Campbell decided to wait until morning when she could see things more clearly.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — City of Natchez closed Duncan Avenue between Homochitto Street and Cherry Street because of fallen power lines.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — City of Natchez closed Duncan Avenue between Homochitto Street and Cherry Street because of fallen power lines.

With light came the revelation — a 150-year-old pecan tree on the banks of Black Lake had fallen, pulled down by the weight of ice from what the National Weather Service had colloquially referred to as “winter weather.”

“We had an old shed out there, and it hit the shed,” she said. “I had other trees taken down that were close to my house, and I hated to cut them down because they were antique trees, but that was the last one.”

The wisdom of having removed the brittle, aging pecans borne out, Campbell’s gas-heated house became a base for her grandchildren, whose home was electric heated.

“We had to find candles, we had no light, that was quite an experience,” she said. “I am sure everybody was experiencing the same thing, having to camp out for the night.”

Across the Miss-Lou, Campbell’s story played out in similar ways for different families as limbs snapped and power lines were downed.

In Natchez, on Canal Street the oak trees at Rosalie leaned so far down under the weight of ice, traffic had to be diverted around them, and on Duncan Avenue at Homochitto Street fallen limbs blocked the street.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said the area had a quarter to a half inch of ice accumulate during the storm, and thousands were without power in the county.

“A lot of that had to do with the power company coming in and dropping some grids to fix the breaks,” Owens said.

At 10 p.m. Wednesday, Entergy Mississippi Spokesman Tim Runnels said the company had been able to restore electrical service to 2,711 customers with nearly 289 remaining without power.

Runnels said the crews would return to work early this morning.

“We hope to have most back on by lunch (today), but everybody back on before midnight,” he said. “We had a very productive day Wednesday, but we’re going to keep working until everyone is back on.”

A spokesperson for Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association said approximately 900 customers in Adams County remained without power Wednesday evening, but most could expect power service to resume today.

Approximately 75 Entergy Louisiana customers were without power in the Ferriday area Wednesday night.

“The conditions here were a little worse than we were initially anticipating, and having said that, the response to the weather we received was just great,” Owens said. “Law enforcement, road crews, public works keeping the streets open, it was just hats off to them.

“When they staged our power companies personnel a little closer to the northern areas where they anticipated damages, they had to come home first and work, but they did that quickly.”

Owens said approximately two dozen houses in Adams County had minor damage caused by falling limbs, and only one received significant damage.

“My concern now is that we didn’t get the sunshine (Wednesday) that was anticipated and our low (Wednesday was) projected to be about 26 degrees, so that means that what is still frozen will remain overnight,” he said. “What is left on this road is going to freeze up, so you are going to find some pockets of ice, so be aware of that and be safe in your travels.”

Concordia Parish Homeland Security Director Junior Tarver said the parish fared the event well, with only one lane of one bridge — the Black River Bridge at Jonesville — having to be closed.

And while the area escaped the icing with little more than scattered power outages, Tarver said the fourth winter weather event in three weeks has him looking forward to the end of winter.

“I hope this is our last round, if the good Lord looks at us favorably,” he said.