Entergy crews pulled from streets due to wind

Published 12:03 am Thursday, August 30, 2012

NATCHEZ —Nearly 3,000 Entergy customers and several hundred more Southwest Mississippi Power customers were without power in Adams County by 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Natchez Entergy Customer Service Manager Tim Runnels said Wednesday evening the outages in the area were not as bad as he initially thought they would be earlier in the day, but the number increased as the night went on. The worst hit areas during the day, he said, were on Palestine Road and Stiers Lane, but the most people out of power at one time was a couple hundred.

“We’re expecting a lot of trouble (today),” he said.

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The crews were running bucket trucks Wednesday to restore power, but Runnels said increasing wind speeds parked the trucks just before 7 p.m. The crews cannot safely operate the bucket trucks with winds higher than 35 mph, Runnels said.

“Bucket trucks are a huge part of (restoring power),” Runnels said. “We can do some stuff for the ground, but when you take away a bucket truck, it’s a big deal.”

Entergy has 125 extra people in Natchez that will be working to restore power throughout the storm when it is safe for them to do so.

Runnels encouraged anyone who comes across a downed power line to stay away from it and report it to Entergy.

Mayor Butch Brown said Wednesday evening he wanted to commend Entergy for having emergency crews ready and rapidly responding to downed trees and power lines.

Brown said the city’s crews are on stand-by and prepared to clear roads or whatever is needed.

“We’re prepared for the worst,” he said. “Everything is fueled, the chainsaws are working and everything has been checked.”

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Bryant under an inch of rain had fallen in Natchez and the surrounding areas.

The highest recorded gust, Bryant said, was 36 mph and sustained winds were approximately 25 mph.

The strongest winds will be after midnight, Bryant said. From midnight until daybreak today, sustained speeds are predicted up to 35 mph, with gusts up to 45-50 mph, he said.

The winds should start slacking off mid to late morning, Bryant said.

The Miss-Lou should expect 10-15 inches of rain from Isaac, Bryant said, and the bulk of the rain should shift north or northwest by this afternoon.

“That may be when there is the biggest chance for a tornado, when the rain shield moves off of you, and there is more scattered thunderstorm activity.

Natchez Police Detective Jerry  Ford said the department assisted and directing traffic at the scenes of downed power lines and trees Wednesday.

Ford said NPD has beefed up their day and night patrol for the storm. NPD detectives will be working patrol and helping respond to downed power lines, trees and other storm-related calls.