Thousands lose power during storm; boil water notice issued

Published 9:04 am Thursday, February 18, 2021

NATCHEZ — More than 6,000 Adams County residents lost power during a Wednesday night storm.

At noon Thursday, just under 5,000 Entergy customers in Adams County and more than 3,300 in Concordia Parish were without power still.

Ice quickly accumulated on top of trees and power lines while the temperature stayed just around freezing with anywhere 1 to 3 inches of frozen sleet already on the ground.

This caused rooftops and trees to fail throughout the county. Many reported water leaks inside their homes in addition to power loss.

Southwest Electric, which services nine counties in Southwest Mississippi including part of Adams County and, said 83% of members within their service area were without power on Thursday morning.

“Our service area was devastated by the second round of ice storms yesterday,” Southwest said in a social media post on Thursday morning. “As of 1:30 pm, we have over 21,200 meters without power. That means that 83% of our service area is without power. … The outages are widespread. The freezing rain weighed down trees and caused extensive damage.”

Southwest said additional help from surrounding states has been recruited to help repair the damage. However, icy road conditions make travel to many customers impossible, Southwest said.

“Once road conditions are safe for their travel, these linemen will start arriving in our area to provide assistance,” the post states. “Many electric cooperatives in MS and surrounding states are also recovering from this weather event. Right-of-way contractors, Delta Tree and Southern Tree are assisting us now.

“The icy roads and damage to the system will make this a tough storm to recover from. Complete power restoration will take in excess of 14 days. We will not be able to provide estimated restoration times for specific areas.”

In a live video Wednesday night, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said electrical crews were already at work trying to restore power just after the storm even while trees were still falling in some places.

Wednesday night’s power loss was caused strictly by the storm and were not part of the mandatory rolling outages that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Entergy’s reliability coordinator, ordered on Tuesday evening.

Around 10 p.m., approximately 6,420 Adams County Entergy customers lost power. Linemen restored power to hundreds of customers while hundreds more lost power through the midnight hours.

Gibson said it’s important for residents to stay off of the roads and out of worker’s way as they continue to work on the situation.

Residents should also try to conserve water as Natchez Waterworks tries to build pressure back after leaks, Gibson said.

Natchez and Vidalia water companies have issued precautionary boil water notices to residents due to the loss of water pressure.

Some places have lost water entirely due to the water system being completely drained.

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said he expects the water in Vidalia to be back on around 1 p.m. Thursday, however, residents should boil the water before use.

“It has been treated but may have a brown tint to it,” Craft said.