Storms slap much of Mississippi | [8/10/06]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2006

From staff and AP reports.

A band of violent storms that swept through parts of Mississippi Wednesday night was expected to bring a 70 percent chance of rain to Vicksburg throughout much of today and tonight.

A bolt of lightning Wednesday night was blamed for a chunk of concrete’s crashing from a high-rise building to the street in downtown Jackson, and up to 13,000 Entergy customers were without electricity at some points during the evening, a company spokesman said.

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At the Jackson Weather Service Office, forecaster Christopher Bannon said scattered thunderstorms should be expected this afternoon, dying out tonight. He said there was a 70 percent chance of rain for the Vicksburg area and to the east this afternoon, dropping to 35 percent to 40 percent tonight.

For Friday, Bannon said similar weather conditions would bring a 40 percent chance of rain.

The low temperature tonight should be in the mid-70s and highs on Friday should be from about 90 to 95 degrees.

Marc McAllister, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the storms produced blinding rain, hail and high winds that downed trees and damaged at least one home.

Vicksburg and Warren County escaped the greatest part of the storm’s effects. The E-911 Emergency Dispatch Center reported one tree downed on LeTourneau Road early this morning. Rain continued at midmorning.

McAllister said the damage was not limited to Jackson. Signs were blown over in several areas. The roof of a house in Laurel was tossed onto a car, he said. Trees were toppled in western Hinds County, near Edwards. Wind gusts were reported as high as 55 mph.

&#8220We have some power outages in Copiah County,” McAllister said. &#8220We have nickel-sized hail in Marion County. Pea-sized hail covered the ground in Columbia.”

Doug Childress, a security guard at the 12-story Plaza Building in downtown Jackson, said massive pieces of decorative stone fell from the top of the building, cracking the concrete in an ally below.

&#8220It appears it was lightning,” he said. &#8220It hit so hard it busted the curb. It’s a good thing nobody was parked here.”

The building houses a variety of offices and apartments. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Rick Lacey, who lives on the 11th floor, said he had just finished eating dinner with his wife when they saw the strike and heard a loud crash.

&#8220It’s pretty scary,” he said, pointing to the chunks of stone in the street. &#8220What if somebody would have been standing there?”