Storm on Christmas downs trees
Monday, December 31, 2012 12:00 AM
There were numerous reports of downed trees and power lines throughout Neshoba County on Christmas Day as a line of severe thunderstorms moved through in the late afternoon.
Hail was reported in the Bond and Arlington communities.
Emergency Management Director Jeff Mayo said no structure damage was reported in the storm.
"It was just real strong winds that came through between 3:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.," Mayo said.
No injuries were reported.
Mississippi 19 north near Marty Stuart Drive at Arlington was blocked temporarily by trees as was Mississippi 19 south at Bethsaida. The eastbound lane of Mississippi 16 east of Philadelphia was blocked by a fallen tree near Road 747.
There were also reports of trees down at Fairview and in the Bond community.
Earlier in the day, before the severe line moved through, the west side of Philadelphia was without power for about an hour around noon.
Philadelphia Utilities Manager John Burt said the west circuit lost power when lightning apparently hit a pole near the intersection of Main Street and Lewis Avenue about 11:40 a.m.
"We had some other scattered outages on Christmas Day, one on Pinecrest Drive and another on Weyerhaeuser Street at Sistrunk Trailer Park," he said.
In south Mississippi, the weather was more severe.
More than 25 people were injured and at least 70 homes were damaged in Mississippi by the severe storms.
Damages have been reported in 10 counties and officials continue to assess the situation, but there have been no reports of fatalities in Mississippi, Mississippi Emergency Management spokesman Brett Carr said.
Rattled residents endured cold and gusting winds on Wednesday as they looked over the damage.
Cindy Williams, 56, stood near her damaged house in McNeill and said she's thankful her family is still alive.
The front of the house was collapsed into a pile of wood and brick. A bedroom porch and balcony were ripped apart. The Christmas tree was blown into the yard. Several large oak trees were uprooted or broken and a nearby grove of trees was sheared off at the treetops.
"We are so thankful," she said. "We had built a replica of an antebellum home. My daughter and daughter-in-law and two grand babies had just made it (home) and we were in the house. My husband and son had gone to our shop and they had to ride it out in the truck. They didn't have a scratch on them. We were in the laundry room. God took care of us.'"
The family celebrated Christmas late Tuesday night at a relative's house.
Carr, the MEMA spokesman, said authorities were still compiling information on the damages, and it's not clear how many of the 70 damaged homes in Mississippi were completely destroyed.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency for eight counties on Christmas Day: Forrest, Greene, Hinds, Jones, Lawrence, Pearl River, Stone and Wilkinson. Damages have since been reported in Amite and George counties.
National Weather Service teams were sent Wednesday to study damage patterns to determine whether some of the destruction was caused by tornados or straight-line winds.
Amanda Harris, deputy director of emergency operation in Pearl River County, said at least six people were taken to hospitals after a suspected tornado hit there, but their injuries were not considered life threatening.
"At least a dozen homes were damaged or destroyed here, probably more, maybe up to 20," Harris said in telephone interview Wednesday.
The storm spun off dozens of tornados along the Gulf Coast and dumped snow on the on nation's midsection before pushing toward the Northeast. At least six people were killed in the storms across the country.
Red Cross spokesman Jarrod Ravencraft said the organization was working to clothe, house and feed people in 10 Mississippi counties, but it wasn't immediately clear how many people had sought shelter and aid.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.