Power out for 3,600, closes St. Al for day

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 21, 2003

Jim Stillwell with BellSouth cuts branches from a Howard Street tree that fell this morning as a thunderstorm swept through Vicksburg and Warren County. The tops of two utility poles were snapped when the tree fell, cutting power and causing nearby St. Aloysius High School to cancel classes today.(Melanie Duncan ThortisThe Vicksburg Post)

[02/21/03]Overnight rain and wind closed part of a parochial school in Vicksburg today and the forecast was for more to come.

“The high school is closed because we have no power,” said Peter Pikul, principal of Vicksburg Catholic School. “The elementary school is open.”

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The two school buildings are along Howard Street, off Clay, where a tree toppled into a power line, creating a tangled mess.

Damage wasn’t isolated inside the city.

“Trees were down from east to west and top to bottom,” L.W. Callaway III, Warren County Emergency Management director, said this morning.

Rain measured 3.39 inches at the Vicksburg Water Treatment Plant at 7 a.m. today, and up to 3,600 Entergy customers were without electricity, a spokesman said.

At about 7, Alan Maxwell, director of the 911 Emergency Reporting Center, said the calls “were coming in so fast we really don’t know what we have.”

Cheryl Comans, Entergy customer service manager for Vicksburg, said 90 percent of the places that lost electricity had service restored by 9. “The majority of the others should be back on within the next hour to hour and a half,” she said.

Callaway estimated two dozen trees were down across the city and county.

Some of the locations included Freetown, Oak Ridge, Lee, Ring, Boy Scout, Riley, Hall and Burnt House roads, Indiana Avenue and Mississippi 27, and inside the city limits, on Clay, Speed and Drummond streets.

Callaway also said after a calm day, a similar storm is predicted to move into the area about midnight.

As much as 5 inches of rain could fall if clouds are moving slowly, he said. And wind could gust to as much as 70 mph.

In an unrelated power outage, several hundred employees at Waterways Experiment Station were affected Thursday when a power line inside the Halls Ferry Road complex failed.

Public affairs director Wayne Stroupe said the line failure knocked out two of the four electrical power circuits at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility where 1,200 federal employees are based on 673 acres.

The outage lasted for about three hours, from about 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., he said.

Power was restored by staff maintenance crews, Stroupe said.