WATER VALLEY – City utility workers were relieved when a line of severe thunderstorms moved through the area Monday afternoon around 4:30 without damaging the electrical system.
But, their relief was short-lived. Around 7:15 – after the last lightning flashes disappeared to the east – a Coffeeville man in a brown Impala took out a utility pole on Central Street just north of the intersection with Lee Street.
Electric Department Manager Andy Hall ordered the power shut down around 7:30 to begin repairs. About 25 minutes later power was returned to most of the city. But, it would be five more hours before electric department workers completed the job, which included replacing the pole.
According to the police report, James T. Harris of Coffeeville was northbound in the 2003 Chevy when he took his eyes off the road to get a cell phone. He left the roadway and hit the pole, breaking it in three places.
Harris wasn’t injured, but his Impala had to be towed.
City police blocked off that section of Central with the help of Sheriff’s deputies while three bucket trucks and a crew of electric department employees worked until 12:30 a.m. in a soaking drizzle. They also had to reset breakers as far as a block away because the impact shook them loose.
“It could have been a lot worse,” commented Hall.
And it was in several places around the state including Starkville where power was out over half the city for hours after a thunderstorm from the same line hit around 5 p.m. downing trees and power lines.
The National Weather Service is predicting much nicer fall-like weather for the area with cool nights and sunny days at least through Sunday.