Meridian Star

Local News

April 30, 2014

Storm brings power outages, downed trees

MERIDIAN —     LEMA officials were "watching and waiting" Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of the evening's severe weather.

    "We're watching weather conditions very closely and have storm spotters out," said Scott Stokes, deputy director of the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency, known as LEMA.

    A TOR:CON 7 was forecast for Lauderdale County Tuesday, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m..

    "That's a 70 percent chance of tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms," Stokes explained.

    Multiple tornadoes were reported throughout Mississippi late Monday, resulting in several deaths, significant damage and numerous injuries in several areas.

    Lauderdale County did not experience any deaths, injuries or major damage, according to the LEMA official.

    "We had trees and power lines down; some roads flooded and a few were temporarily blocked. There was one house that had a little damage," Stokes said.

    And while Lauderdale County dodged any serious damage, Tuesday was a very active day for line crews of Mississippi Power Company (MPC) and East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA), who were busy restoring powers to their prospective customers.

    Mississippi Power's 23-county service territory had a peak of about 884 customers to lose power between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. in the Meridian area, said Mississippi Power spokesman Keith Guillot.

    EMEPA had 6,800 outages, with the majority in Lauderdale and Winston counties, according to Jessica Hamburg, EMEPA's communications specialist.

    By 4 p.m. Tuesday, seven MPC customers  were without power in Lauderdale County, and a handful in Newton County. Guillot said crews were working as safely and quickly as possible to restore service to customers.

    EMEPA's power outage numbers were down to 1,700 by noon Tuesday. The company serves Lauderdale, Clarke, Kemper and Winston counties, as well as several adjacent areas.

    "All available personnel – local as well as crews from Pearl River Valley, Delta, Yazoo Valley, Magnolia and Southwestern electric power associations – were dispatched to assess the damage and start back the restoration process," Hamburg said.

    With another round of severe thunderstorms expected, Mississippi Power customer service offices in Forest, Meridian, Newton, Quitman, Stonewall and Union closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Offices will resume normal operating hours today.

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