Violent storms sweep through the Miss-Lou

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2001

AP and staff reports

Severe thunderstorms which ripped through southwest Mississippi left about 3,000 Entergy Corp. customers in the dark Thursday evening.

Statewide about 25,000 Entergy Corp. customers were affected.

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&uot;We had a tree limb fall on three lines out near St. Catherine,&uot; said Forest Persons, Entergy customer service manager for the Natchez area. &uot;We had outages all over the place – Morgantown, down in Gloster.&uot;

Persons said extra crews were called back into work and many of those affected had power restored by late Thursday night.

In Natchez, the high winds and rain associated with the storm also damaged at least one home and knocked down trees downtown.

Jack Whitehead was picking butterbeans behind his residence at 138 Mount Carmel Road when he believes lightning struck an large oak tree sending half of it crashing down on his house.

&uot;It scared the hell out of me,&uot; Whitehead said, adding that no one was injured. His house, however was severely damaged, he said. &uot;There’s water in the insulation, water in the ceiling.&uot;

A large tree also fell across the roadway in the 800 block of State Street. When the rain subsided the tree’s owner, Hayden Petkovsek, and neighbors cut the tree up and cleared the roadway.

Robert Lesley, a spokesman for Entergy in Mississippi, said portions of Hinds, Madison, Warren and Rankin counties were the hardest hit by the storm.

”The majority of the outages were caused by lightning,” Lesley said. Typically in a summer storm, high winds cause most of the outages.”

Lesley said crews were able to restore power in a more efficient manner because they didn’t have to remove trees or limbs from power lines. Heavy rain and dangerous lightning moved into Mississippi Thursday afternoon. The storms did not leave behind much damage, but did destroy power lines.

”We have got crews that will be working into the night,” Lesley said.