Many Copiah County residents were without power and water for several days last week as a result of the wintry blast that hit the area. Freezing rain, especially Wednesday night, accumulated on trees, bringing down limbs and trees on power lines and cutting power to pumps on water wells.
According to Copiah County Emergency Management Director Randle Drane, there were power outages across the county and many communities with no water. As of late morning Tuesday, Drane said there were still 1,012 still without power in the county, and water has been restored in most areas. However, boil water alerts will still be in place until water systems submit clean samples to and receive certification from the Mississippi Department of Health that the water is safe for drinking.
Hazlehurst Mayor Shirley Sandifer said the city had widespread power failures and lost water pressure. The city has a generator for its main water pumps, but the equipment froze and was not able to keep the pumps going.
Hazlehurst’s boil water notice was lifted Tuesday afternoon when they received the all-clear from the Department of Health.
Sandifer suggests citizens of Hazlehurst sign up for text messages by texting Hazlehurst to 955-77 from their cell phones. When emergencies arise or when other important information needs to be distributed, the town does so through its text message system.
Sandifer also said city crews will be picking up debris from the storm. Residents have recently been advised that leaves and limbs will be picked up by Waste Management and must be cut to certain sizes. Because of the volume of debris, the city will pick up and dispose of the limbs and trees and then revert to Waste Management handling it. Sandifer asks that property owners stack their limbs as neatly as possible and cut down into smaller pieces if possible.
Likewise in Crystal Springs, Mayor Sally Garland said water and electrical issues were the main problems last week. On Tuesday morning, she said a water main under Camp Street has been repaired and levels in the city’s water tanks are increasing. Along with the levels, water pressure in town is improving. The system will remain under a boil water notice until the all-clear is received from the health department. Text messages can be received from the city by texting csalerts to 955-77. City officials will notify water customers when the boil water notice is lifted.
Garland said Entergy had over 200 support personnel from Arkansas and Tennessee to help restore power in the area. She expected 100% power restoration in town by the end of the day Tuesday.
She also reported that waste collection is behind schedule because of the storm, and city crews will assist with trash collection until it is under control.
Garland said the help the community received was amazing. Pumps and food were donated to help workers repair the broken water main and help came from the governor’s office, the public service commission, and from Highway Commissioner Willie Simmons’ office.
She said the county assisted by walking in a large excavator to help with the project. Trucking the equipment into town from a gravel pit on Highway 27 was not an option. She said the hole that was dug to repair the line was being filled in with sand Tuesday morning.