Powerful storms leave scattered damage in Mississippi

Published 1:44 pm Friday, April 4, 2008

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ At least five injuries and widespread damage to homes and trees was reported across Mississippi on Friday as powerful storms packing possible tornadoes, powerful wind gusts, heavy rain and hail tore across the state on Friday.

Jim Pollard, a spokesman for American Medical Response ambulance service, which serves a number of counties in the Jackson area, was responding to some 30 calls at one point. Pollard said AMR handled at least five injuries due to the storm.

The storms left damage from the Mississippi River into east Mississippi, including the Vicksburg and Jackson metropolitan areas. Power outages were reported in several communities, including near downtown Vicksburg, Jackson and in the Madison, Ridgeland and Canton areas.

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The National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm alerts for areas in the path of the fast moving system that produced heavy rain, strong wind gusts, lightning and hail.

The line of storms had moved into eastern counties by mid-afternoon. Damaging winds and hail was reported in the Pearl and Brandon areas and along U.S. 49 south in Rankin County and in the Morton and Forest areas of Scott County to the east.

A particularly strong storm left damage to some homes and downed trees in the Ross Barnett Reservoir area. Hail was reported in the same area, which at one point was under a tornado warning.

Storms in the Madison and Ridgeland areas forced motorists off highways, and many people sought shelter in businesses until the systems moved to the east. Damage was reported along County Line Road and Old Fanning Road to the north of Jackson, with some areas left without electricity.

Ridgeland Mayor Gene F. McGee said trees are down on houses in the Windover and Shadowood areas along Lake Harbour Drive and Pear Orchard Road in the central part of the city. There are numerous reports of downed trees, overturned vehicles and power outages throughout Ridgeland.

Madison County Sheriff Toby Trowbridge said portions of Lake Harbour Drive were closed because of downed trees and power lines.

The south lane of U.S. 51 at the Natchez Trace was blocked because of fallen trees, said Madison County Emergency Management Director Butch Hammack.

Ridgeland Police dispatch was down for about 20 minutes and 911 calls were being answered by the sheriff’s department, Trowbridge said.