Storm passes Miss-Lou with minimal harm

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Daniel Tillman and Jerry Wayne Nations discuss how to remove a large tree from the roof of Doris Craft’s Myrtle Street house in Vidalia Monday afternoon. The tree in her front yard split and fell on her house due to the rains from Tropical Storm Lee this weekend.

NATCHEZ — Residents picked up the pieces — mostly twigs and small limbs — from their yards Monday as Tropical Storm Lee finished its slow, steady drag across the Miss-Lou.

A smaller number of residents spent Labor Day cleaning up much bigger messes including trees and a few power poles.

Doris Craft, who lives on Myrtle Street in Vidalia spent the holiday in her chair as relatives attempted to remove half of a tree from her roof.

Email newsletter signup

Craft was home at 4 p.m. Sunday when winds and rain from Tropical Depression Lee put too much stress on the old oak tree in her front yard. Craft said the wind was blowing and it was raining, raining, raining.

“I heard a noise,” Craft said. “It didn’t fall real hard, I guess it fell gently. But I knew something had happened, so I looked outside.”

That is when Craft saw the tree, which had partly ripped from the central trunk, lying on her roof.

So at 8 a.m. Monday, instead of sleeping in on their nationally scheduled off-days, Craft’s son, brother and granddaughters got to work in the yard cutting limbs and cleaning up — not the Labor Day they had in mind, but labor nonetheless.

They weren’t grilling out or pouring daiquiris, but Craft said she fixed lunch for the family.

“Me and Popeye’s Chicken fixed it,” Craft said, laughing.

Craft said the family checked out the attic where there is some rafter damage, but she said she is lucky that the tree didn’t tear through her house. And Craft said she is luckier to have a family that will give up their holiday to help.

“I’ve enjoyed just sitting and watching them,” Craft said. “They’ve been very creative. I’ve got some great minds out here.”

Tim Runnels, Entergy customer service manager said with the exception of power outages and a few downed trees and power poles, the storm could have packed a harder punch on the Miss-Lou.

“When you have a big hurricane come in, you can have broader damage, but this one was more tree limbs blowing out of trees,” Runnels said. “We were very fortunate.”

Runnels said the power company received a few trouble calls Monday, but power was restored to those customers quickly.

“Today was a good day,” Runnels said. “I don’t think we had more than 200 customers with power out today.”

Runnels said portions of Liberty, Lower Woodville and Morgantown roads had some outages Monday, but they were scattered.

“At this point things are tapering off,” Runnels said. “It was an ongoing thing for the past three days.”

Runnels said Entergy crews, and, he hopes, Miss-Lou residents, can enjoy the weather for a while.

“The next four or five days are supposed to be pretty,” Runnels said.

Today’s forecast is sunny, but cooler and still windy, with a high near 75 degrees. The National Weather Service in Jackson reports possible wind gusts as high as 20 miles per hour in the day, but winds will be calm tonight.

Meanwhile, category 3 Hurricane Katia is currently churning in the Atlantic off Cuba’s coast. NWS reports Katia’s biggest threat continues to be dangerous rip currents along the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda, but is not expected to make landfall.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens did not return repeated phone calls Monday.