Storm knocks out power around Meridian

Bill Graham / The Meridian Star

A ULCS crew from Mobile, Alabama, works to restore power off North Hills Street in Meridian Friday morning. 

Crews have restored power to many homes after a Wednesday storm knocked out power for thousands of residents around Meridian. 

By 12:25 p.m. on Friday, the vast majority of residents had had their power restored, but 73 Mississippi Power customers in Lauderdale County were still out of power, according to the Mississippi Power outage map. The power company serves most Meridian residents, but it also serves some areas of the county.

East Mississippi Electric Power Association, which serves much of the county and also some homes in Meridian, reported at 12:31 p.m. Friday that 468 EMEPA electric meters in Lauderdale County were affected by power outages.

Doug Stephens, the City of Meridian’s public safety director, told the city council on Thursday that he'd expected a period of thawing on Wednesday, but less thawing occurred than expected. Later that day, the city experienced heavy rain showers. Some trees still had ice on their limbs, so the wind knocked some down.

The city activated a portion of its emergency response team on Wednesday evening to monitor activity during the storm.

Stephens said that many of the city’s power outages were in the North Hills neighborhood and in the northwest corner of the city. 

Stephens said that at 8:43 pm on Wednesday, about 5,000 Mississippi Power customers in Lauderdale County were without power. During the night, the number grew, but crews started to restore power to some homes. By Thursday morning at 8:15 a.m., the number decreased to about 4,800 residences.

When it comes to power outages, Meridian was impacted by Winter Storms Uri and Viola more than other parts of East Mississippi, according to Jeff Shepard, a spokesperson for Mississippi Power. In addition to Mississippi Power workers, crews were called in from other states to assist with power restoration. 

In the county, roads that were closed because of Wednesday’s storm have since reopened, Lauderdale County Road Manager Rush Mayatt said Friday morning. Mayatt said crews planned to work through the day to clear tree limbs and other debris. 

Daniel Lamb, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Jackson, expected that low temperatures would be in the lower 20s on Friday night, but warmer temperatures would be coming to Meridian over the weekend.

Lamb expected that highs would be in the 50s on Saturday and in the lower 60s on Sunday, with about a 50-60% chance of rain Sunday night. The high temperatures are expected to be in the 50s on Monday.

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