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Remus Slams County, Another Coming?

Winter Storm Remus targeted the county last Wednesday, dumping almost six inches of wet snow that snapped limbs and created travel hazards Wednesday afternoon through much of Thursday. City, county and state crews were busy during and after the storm working to make the roads passable. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – Winter Storm Remus dumped as much as a foot of wet snow in some areas as it pushed through the south and up the mid-Atlantic last week. Locally the storm dropped almost half a foot of snow in the county.

            Yalobusha EMA Director Frank Hyde reported power outages, downed limbs and slick roads were the biggest problems experienced from the storm, which started with freezing rain last Wednesday morning, and turned to sleet and snow as the day progressed.

            “We got to give the weathermen credit,” Hyde said about the forecast that warned Yalobushians to brace for the storm, adding the timing and accumulation predictions were extremely accurate. Hyde said decisions to cancel school by both school districts in the county along with some government offices helped minimize problems.

            Hyde also reported one person in the county, a lady who lived alone and was without power, was provided shelter.

            Sheriff Lance Humphreys told the Herald his department worked almost 50 accidents last week in a one-two punch that started with icy weather Monday night and hit again with Remus Wednesday.

            Thankfully only minor injuries were reported and many of the accidents did not involve property damage, according to the sheriff.

            “Most of the accidents we worked were people who slid off the road,” Humphreys explained. The sheriff said passers-by helped get many of the vehicles back on the road as people worked together to battle the elements.

            Utility workers in the county battled outages from limbs downing power lines, working almost around the clock initially to restore power. Mississippi Emer-gency Management Agency reported almost 1,890 people were still without power Friday morning. Hyde reported that most of the TVEPA crews had power restored by late Friday.

Andy Hall, manager of the Water Valley Electrical Department, said that the city’s power infrastructure came through pretty well. “There was a little more ice in it, but it was not nearly as bad as it could have been,” he added.

“We worked 10 or 12 hours overtime,” Hall said. “But, most of those were just a call here and there.”

The electric department is as well prepared as they can be for the potential ice predicted this week. “I don’t even want to think about it,” said Hall. “Maybe we’ll get lucky.”

Not a 1994 Storm

            The ice storm that pounded the county back in 1994 has often been used as a measuring stick for problematic winter storms, and Hyde pointed to several differences from Remus and the 1994 storm, including the obvious lesser amount of accumulation of freezing rain with Remus.

            “Another good thing about this one, there were so many people who never lost power,” Hyde told the Herald. This meant people could stay with relatives who had heat during the outage last week.

            “In this storm, most of Water Valley stayed up and in the county we had some places where the power never went off. Back in 1994 everybody was out,” Hyde explained.

            Another big help is back-up power available at most of the county’s rural water associations.

            “Back in 1994, when the current had been off a day or two, everyone was without water,” Hyde said. Now the rural water associations have generators which keep the pumps running while power is out, which in turn keeps the water flowing, Hyde explained.

            Another key difference is the utility companies keep power line right-of-ways trimmed regularly, reducing limbs that could damage the lines and cause outages.

            Hyde speculated the results could have been much worse if the storm had lingered Wednesday.

            “Another hour and we could have experienced twice the outages,” Hyde said about the heavy snowfall.

Another Round?

            As for another possible round of winter weather predicted, Hyde’s sentiment is shared by many who had their fill last week.

            “I hope we don’t get it,” Hyde said.

            But the county has been placed under a weather advisory as an Arctic cold front will blast across the state Wednesday. Significant acclamations of snow, sleet and ice are forecast in some areas, but Yalobusha County could be on the edge of the accumulation.

            “Yalobusha is under an advisory, with the possibility freezing rain and ice, but it is subject to change,” Hyde said. At presstime the advisory was from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thurs-day.

            Other counties north and west of Yalobusha including Panola are in the winter warning and could be harder hit.

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