A tree fell on a house and car Saturday on Columbus Avenue after storms rolled through Neshoba County with 80 m.p.h. gusts.
A tree fell on a house and car Saturday on Columbus Avenue after storms rolled through Neshoba County with 80 m.p.h. gusts.

Wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour tore through Philadelphia and Neshoba County Saturday morning, downing trees, damaging property and causing widespread power outages.

The National Weather Service reported the straight-line winds were a combination of the remnants of Tropical Depression Olga and a cold front. The severe weather passed through beginning around 7:30 a.m. rather unexpectedly many people said.

A Newton County man died in the storm. A tree fell on Jason Boyd, a Mississippi Department of Transportation employee near Conehatta as he was working to clear debris.

Neshoba County Emergency Management Darrell Wilson said his office and 911received more than 300 calls Saturday, mostly from people trying to report their power is out.

“Trees were down all over the county,” Wilson said. “Central Electric had several power lines down. When the power is out this, they know it and are responding.”

The heavy rains from last week were a factor in the damage.

“It was tough,” said Philadelphia Fire Chief Pierce Clark. “We had a lot of rain last week. The combination of wet grounds and high winds is not a good combination when it comes to falling trees.”

While the widespread damage was similar to the April 18 tornadoes, the amount of damage is not comparable. Emergency responders said 10 houses had trees on them. There were some non-life threatening injuries. No one was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Meanwhile, emergency responders, including the Philadelphia Fire Department, county volunteer fire departments and city and county workers, worked all day Saturday and part of Sunday clearing roads and getting trees off of houses. Work to clear roads was still ongoing Monday. It is not known how many roads were blocked by fallen trees.

Power outages

Philadelphia Utilities general manager Kirk Morgan said around 2,500 of its customers lost power.

“It was mostly the western circuit which runs from Kosciusko Road through Woodland Hills and on to Richard Moulding,” Morgan said. “We were able to restore power to most of those customers by Saturday night. We can’t restore power to homes that have their power lines torn away from the structure until it has been repaired. If anyone is still having problems, they should call us.”

Central Electric Power Association reported 18,000 customers lost power throughout its district which includes Attala, Leake, Neshoba, Scott, Newton, Rankin and a small part Kemper County. That was reduced to 1,580 Monday evening.

In Neshoba County, 1,302 customers were without power Sunday night. That was reduced to 557 Monday. Parts of the Dowdvile area between Union and Madden, the hardest hit part of the county, were still without power Tuesday.

A very close call

Philadelphia Alderman Jim Fulton and his wife were still resting from a trip to Ridgeland for a football game Friday night when a tree crashed through their bedroom.

Limbs broke through the roof, breaking rafters and piercing the ceiling. The limbs went through the ceiling of the Fulton’s master bedroom where they were.

“My bedroom was smashed,” Fulton said. “We were skinned up and bruised but we are okay. It was the only room in the house that was damaged.”

Fulton said later in the day, he rode around town to check on the damage. “That storm did a lot of damage around town,” he said.

Familiar scene

It took the county and city months to clean up all of the debris from the April 18 tornadoes. They are now working to remove debris from the storm.

“Our crews are in the midst of removing debris,” Mayor James Young said. “We still have some big trees to remove.”

County Administrator Jeff Mayo said they won’t be burning the debris this time, as they did last summer.

“It’s not as much. We’ll put it in the landfill,” Mayo said. “We will have crews working to remove storm debris after we get the roads unblocked.”