Storm snaps trees, knocks out power for some

A large oak tree just missed falling on top of Linda Jackson’s home on Hickory Drive Wednesday afternoon during a thunderstorm (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

A strong thunderstorm rolled over Oktibbeha County on Wednesday afternoon, downing trees and interrupting power service for many.

While the storm caused substantial tree damage in the county, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center did not receive reports of other damage or weather-related issues from other parts of the Golden Triangle as of press deadline on Wednesday night.

Just outside of Starkville, a large oak tree fell on the far corner of Linda Jackson’s house around 5 p.m on Hickory Drive, just off Hickory Grove Road in Oktibbeha County.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, which came right before the storm ramped up over Jackson’s home.

She did, however, count herself lucky that the fallen tree didn’t come down directly on the home, which suffered minimal to no damage.

“I heard the big gust of wind and I knew something was up,” Jackson said as she looked over the downed tree and debris strewn through her yard.

Jackson then said she immediately went into her far bedroom to check the ceiling to make sure the tree didn’t come through.

“I couldn’t go outside to check because it kept storming,” she said. “I would have been terrified if it had hit at night.”

Just down the street, Leslie Dimino and Amanda McGinnis helped family and friends clean up debris from Dimino's yard in a heavily-wooded area of the county.

Dimino, who lives at the home on Hickory Drive, said the power never went out except for quick instances. But during one interruption she noticed the weather taking a turn for the worse.

“I looked out the window and noticed the trees were just snapping off - snapping, snapping and snapping,” she said.

Dimino and McGinnis both then sought shelter in the home’s bathroom.

“It got really loud then,” McGinnis noted. “Nothing is damaged, it’s just a mess.”

Roughly a mile from Hickory Drive, on Highway 182, the storm ripped a large tree branch from a nearly century-old oak tree in the yard of a private residence. Part of the limb fell across the westbound lane of Highway 182 near Curtis Chapel Road, causing slight traffic issues.

State troopers were on the scene shortly thereafter and crews from the Mississippi Department of Transportation had the lane cleared before 6 p.m.

In terms of outages in the county, 4-County Electric reported 177 without power following the storm.

Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp told the Starkville Daily News that they would have a firm number of outages in the city on Thursday.

Oktibbeha County EMA Director Kristen Campanella said outages were reported in the vicinity of Academy Road after a tree fell on a electric substation on Industrial Park Road.

Just off Academy Road on Starr Avenue at Academy Village apartments, two trees were snapped the base and fell against an apartment building, but no visible damage to the building’s exterior could be seen from the street.

However, the extent of damage to the building has not been confirmed at this time.

Campanella then said outages were also reported on the north side of the city near Highland Avenue.

“Our office constantly monitors weather conditions for our area and tries to give updates as soon as we get them,” Campanella said.

She then said this is the time of year where caution should be given to severe weather because strong storms can develop quickly.

As a safety measure, Campanella recommended citizens use CodeRED, a free emergency notification service provided to all Oktibbeha County residents that will provide notifications of emergency information through phone calls, text messages, emails and social media.

Click here to sign up for CodeRED:

“All law enforcement, utility and road crews were dispatched immediately today following the storm that passed through and we would like to thank them for their quick response, as always, to help get our community back to normal conditions,” Campanella said.