Thousands still without power after storms

Published 12:09 am Monday, April 7, 2008

JACKSON (AP) — An estimated 33,000 Mississippians are still in the dark two days after five tornadoes hit the central part of the state.

Entergy spokesman Checky Herrington says at least 1,000 workers are trying to get power back on for more than 33,000 Entergy customers.

He said that while nearly 200,000 more metro area customers lost power during Hurricane Katrina, Friday’s storm caused more damage.

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Crews are being hampered by the unknown number of trees that have fallen.

The National Weather Service has confirmed that five tornadoes attacked central Mississippi on Friday.

The most powerful was an EF2 that began in extreme southern Madison County and thrashed through northeast Jackson before ending in northwest Rankin County. The tornado that hit Jackson carried winds up to 115 mph. It was an EF1 by the time it reached Rankin County.

Hinds Emergency Operations Center Director Larry Fisher said Sunday he now estimates the number of damaged houses to be closer to 6,000 or 7,000 at a cost of between $7 and $10 million.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is surveying damage, director Mike Womack said.

To qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants, the area must have about 100 uninsured homes with major damage, Womack said. To qualify for low-interest federal loans, the area must have about 25 uninsured homes with major damage.

‘‘We should know Monday,’’ Womack said. ‘‘Based on what we’ve seen, we’ll certainly have 25 homes.’’

Herrington said most people should have their power back on by Wednesday.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger,