One day’s rain nearly double October average|[10/17/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Local officials were dealing with the effects of mudslides and 195 homes remained without electricity this morning as Vicksburg and Warren County dried out from Monday’s all-day rain.

The hours-long downpour measured 6.1 inches at the Vicksburg Water Treatment Plant at the Port of Vicksburg and the steady rain caused low-lying streets across the city to flood for varying periods of time.

Most of the houses without power were along Sky Farm Avenue in the northern part of the city, Entergy spokesman Don Arnold said.

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&#8220We’ve had a dry summer and it doesn’t take much for those trees to fall,” he added.

National Weather Service historical data says 6.1 inches is average for an entire March in Vicksburg and only one month, December, has a higher monthly average at 6.4 inches.

Normal for October is 3.8 inches.

The moisture was unusual in that it also flowed from the South, with temperatures rising during the deluge.

The peak of outages was 265 of Entergy’s customers here, Arnold said, adding that crews were working to restore power to all affected areas by this afternoon. As many as 5,500 Entergy customers from Jackson to the Delta were without power Monday evening.

Further north, Warren County Sheriff’s deputies blocked sections of U.S. 61 North for about three hours as mudslides created havoc for drivers.

&#8220There were two significant mudslides, one at U.S. 61 North at Blakely and also at Redwood Road,” Sheriff Martin Pace said this morning.

Between 9 p.m. and midnight, Pace said, several inches of water and mud that spread across the road caused deputies to halt traffic on 61 off and on, including one roadblock that lasted 45 minutes.

&#8220We had a number of vehicles that spun out and got stuck in it,” Pace said. &#8220You couldn’t see the mud under the water.”

Though Warren County was one of a handful of counties in central Mississippi under a tornado watch late Monday, no tornadic activity was reported here.

In all, Warren County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 16 motor vehicle accidents. Pace said none of them resulted in injuries that could be called major.

Trucks with the Warren County Road Department responded to 20 reports of fallen trees. At mid-morning, reports from less-traveled roads countywide were still coming in, officials said.

Also due to the rain, a retaining wall, near Monroe and Jackson streets between the Warren County Board of Supervisors office and the Vicksburg Municipal Auditorium, collapsed, said Board of Supervisors President Carl Flanders this morning by phone.