Northeast Louisiana hit by storms

Published 11:44 pm Friday, April 4, 2008

About 2,000 customers were without power late Friday after heavy rains and winds hit northeastern Louisiana.

Officials with Entergy Louisiana said special equipment would be used Saturday to reach rain-drenched areas, including Jonesboro, Winnfield, Bastrop, Tallulah and Columbia and Chatham.

‘‘The hardest hit area was the Winnfield and Chatham areas,’’ said Entergy spokeman Kenny Solley. ‘‘We had a lot of broken poles and with all the rain, it made some areas inaccessible by truck.’’

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Solley said all power was expected to be restored by Saturday afternoon. At the height of the outages, about 14,000 customers in the region were without electricity.

Downed trees were reported across the region. Some roofs were torn off by high winds in Columbia.

Christian Stapleton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport, said the damage reported in Atlanta and Winnfield, both in Winn Parish, has to be surveyed to determine if a tornado touched down, or if the damage was caused by strong winds, said Christia Stapleton, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The fast-moving front passed into Mississippi, where ambulances took more than 20 people to Jackson-area hospitals Friday as the storms pounded the area. At least 69,000 people were without power late Friday and authorities said it could be Monday before all would be restored.