4-County

Senior Equipment Operator Jimmy Stewart and Apprentice 4 Lineman A.J. Jones. 

Crews from 4-County Electric Power Association continued their storm restoration efforts Monday morning following one of two tornadoes that caused damage moving through Winston and Oktibbeha counties Saturday night.

County officials approved an emergency declaration Sunday to help with costs of cleaning up the aftermath. Heavy structural damage was reported in rural areas and tree damage was reported in many parts of Starkville.

As a result of a preliminary damage assessment Sunday in Starkville and Oktibbeha County, the National Weather Service office in Jackson reported an EF-2 tornado came through Winston and Oktibbeha counties from 9:55 p.m. until 10:10 p.m. with estimated peak winds of 113 mph.

4-County Manager of Consumer Services Cliff Wall said at the height of the storms, approximately nearly 1,500 members were without power in Clay, Choctaw and Oktibbeha counties.

"We had more than 10 broken poles and plenty of wire down along with other damage as a result," Wall said.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. Monday, 4-County crews were assessing damage south of Highway 25 near the New Bell Zion United Methodist Church, which also sustained roof damage from the 830-yard wide tornado.

4-County Journeyman Lineman Justin Murphy has worked with 4-County for eight years and said crews experienced and assessed the normal tornado damage, including downed trees, wet conditions, ditches and creeks, broken poles and down wire.

"We've all experienced it and know how to handle it, everything's come together good and everybody's come together good," he said. "We band together and get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Oktibbeha County EMA Director Kristen Campanella said the disaster declaration went into effect before 11 p.m. Sunday night and Monday morning crews were helping around the county.

4-County trucks could be seen on Ennis Road and areas surrounding New Bell Zion United Methodist Church. Crew Leader Tommy Reed rushed to part of the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge where crews were fixing power lines.

"We've got several broke poles on this line and the wire is so destroyed and blown into the trees that we're having to completely, what we call, re-conduct it with all new wire throughout the whole line," Murphy said.

The tornado damaged a line coming through the Refuge that was feeding a cell phone tower and church. 4-County said the worst damage was in the Craig Springs area in southwest Oktibbeha County and in the Hillbrook neighborhood off Oktoc Road.

The tornado that hit Starkville was classified as an EF-1 with estimated peak winds of 105 mph. NWS reported the tornado began its 4.46 mile path near the Beef Unit at Mississippi State University and other areas at approximately 10:19 p.m. ending at 10:26 p.m.

There were no reported injuries from the storm.

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