• 61°

Sunny skies in forecast for Vicksburg’s Fourth

Baily Ferguson all dressed up in her holiday garb, and, at right, 5-year-old Madisyn Cummins uses an American flag to show her colors as she parades on her scooter. (Meredith SpencerThe Vicksburg Post)

[7/4/04]After more than 20 days of rain over the past month, the National Weather Service was predicting at least partly sunny skies and no rain in Vicksburg for today’s holiday and tonight’s downtown music and fireworks.

The forecast comes on the heels of record-breaking rainfall throughout June and nearly 3 inches of precipitation in the first two days of this month.

Only a trace of rain was reported in Warren County Saturday.

But as the sun began to shine through Saturday, some Entergy customers were still dealing with Friday night’s fierce storm that toppled trees and cut electricity to up to 4,000 customers.

Most of the power was restored by Saturday morning, but two more trees fell about 5 p.m. and cut electricity for about 1,000 businesses and residences for about two hours.

Entergy spokesman Cheryl Comans said all customers were expected to have power restored Saturday night.

The outage Saturday evening darkened all stores Vicksburg Factory Outlets, McAllister’s and Cracker Barrel restaurants and the Hampton, Jameson and Battlefield inns and Holiday Inn Express, as well as homes in the Berryman Road, Porters Chapel, Old Highway 27 and South Frontage Road areas, where the trees were down.

“We got our food before the power went out,” said Bryan Stafford, a Little Rock native vacationing with his family who had stopped at Cracker Barrel. “We got to eat by candlelight, so that was pretty cool.”

At the outlet center, Rhonda Abraham, assistant manager of Oshkosh B’gosh, closed the store at 5:30 p.m. after writing receipts for the few remaining customers.

“We’re going to lock the store up until the power comes back on,” Abraham said. The center’s 30 stores were scheduled to close at 9 p.m.

At Oak Park Subdivision, one of the hardest-hit areas Friday night, limbs and trees were still on some houses and debris was scattered across streets and lawns.

Mike Mann was one of several homeowners in Oak Park to have a tree crash on his house. Luckily, Mann said, the tree hit over his garage.

“It ain’t like it’s in a bad area,” he said.

The tree fell while Mann had gone to a convenience store.

“I’m glad I left,” he said. “I’d have had a heart attack if I’d been here.”

Warren County Emergency Management director L.W. “Bump” Callaway said the heavy rains were coming at the worst possible time because of heavy vegetation.

“(The trees) are at their peak of their weights and the ground is saturated, so it’s at the peak of its ability to let loose,” Callaway said.

The weather service was predicting isolated showers and thunderstorms to return to the area Monday and each day through Saturday.

Vicksburg and Warren County recorded 11 inches of rain in June, nearly 2 inches more than the record for the month, recorded 95 years ago.

Tonight’s festivities are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The fireworks show is set for just after nightfall.