Rain brings wrecks, topples trees, cuts power|[05/15/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wrecks, fallen trees and power outages were reported overnight and this morning as rain steadily poured on Vicksburg and Warren County with a chance of more pounding throughout the day.

“It’s a very rain-efficient system moving through,” Ashley Wester, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson said this morning. “You’ve already received a little over an inch, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another inch or two before the day is over.”

Wester said Wednesday’s rainfall amount was recorded at 0.84 inch at an observation site across the Mississippi River in Tallulah, which, combined with this morning’s, equaled about 2 inches for the area. Vicksburg’s water plant measured 1 inch Wednesday.

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From midnight until about 8 a.m., 13 wrecks were reported to emergency officials as heavy rains inundated the area, E-911 reports show. Of the 13, five were reported to have injuries. Most of the wrecks were along Interstate 20, and others were on U.S. 61 North and South.

Trees were down on Tucker Road, Warriors Trail, Glass Road at U.S. 61 South, Standard Hill Road near Sherman Avenue, Campbell Swamp Road and Bellaire Drive. A few of the downed trees broke utility poles in the southern portion of the county, causing power outages for 1,500 Entergy customers, said spokesman Don Arnold.

The rain brought a flash flood watch for the area at 7:30 a.m. A tornado watch had also been issued for the county early this morning, but by 8 a.m., NWS officials canceled it as the threat weakened.

“The threat has moved off to the east. We’re going to see more of that in southeast Mississippi,” Wester said.

A “small chance” of severe storms, which could cause hail, were possible this afternoon, but Wester said it’s unlikely.

“By the afternoon, things should calm down for you guys,” she said. “It’s going to be mainly heavy rain, but I won’t rule out the chance of severe weather.”

Wester said showers only are forecast for Friday. But, the sun is expected to shine again Saturday, when the high will reach 80. The next chance for heavy rain will not come until the middle of next week, she said.

“Overall, the weekend should be dry. We’re not looking at any significant events,” she said.