Worst of slow-moving Lee expected today

Published 12:03 am Sunday, September 4, 2011

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Entergy’s Flozell Grady works by headlight and flashlight to replace a fuse on a power line near Shields Lane after Saturday’s heavy rainfall. Several power outages were reported due to Tropical Storm Lee.

NATCHEZ — More than 500 Adams County residences temporarily lost power Saturday as Tropical Storm Lee’s center crawled to Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf coast.

Emergency Management Director Stan Owens predicted the worst repercussions of the slow-moving storm to be felt overnight Saturday and early today for the area, he said Saturday evening.

“If (the storm) stays on its projected path the center might be approaching Meridian Sunday,” Owens said. “Either way (Owens expects) a good rain event at least through Tuesday.”

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Owens said the county received approximately 1.5 inches of rain Saturday.

Entergy Customer Service Manager Tim Runnels said the company will likely be dispatching extra crews to the area Sunday to fix potential outages and perform preventative tree trimming.

Johnny and Edna Carter huddle under an umbrella, as they walk into the Isle of Capri casino on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Heavy rain fall is expected throughout today’s forecast with a temperature high of 78 degrees.

“We expect the worst weather tomorrow,” Runnels said.

Owens said the storm diminished some after hitting land, and Sunday Lee should be producing 20 to 30 mile-per-hour winds, and 40 to 45 mile-per-hour gusts are possible.

“My main concern when newspapers hit the driveways (early today), we will be seeing some of these winds,” Owens said.

County road crews cleared five roads of downed trees Saturday, Owens said, trees which fell as the result of wind and heavy rain saturation at the roots.

Runnels said most of the 391 customers within the Natchez city limits who were without power Saturday were located in the Roselawn and LaGrange areas.

Outages can mostly be attributed to fallen tree limbs, Runnels said.

Manager of Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association, Tommy Provance, said more than 100 customers outside the city limits lost power.

Of the 10 counties SWEPA serves, 1,500 residences were temporarily, if not for an extended period of time, in the dark Saturday, Provance said.

The entire City of Vidalia also lost power for just more than an hour at approximately noon Saturday, Mayor Hyram Copeland said Saturday afternoon.

“We haven’t gotten any flooding issues, but we prepared for that and cleaned out drains,” Copeland said.

“Our utility crews are on standby,” Copeland said.

Owens said rain will likely fall sporadically Sunday, other than a chance of concentrated showers before sunrise today.

He said residents should be wary of the weather and pay close attention.

“Be safe and aware,” Owens said.