Cleanup from weekend storms begins

JACKSON – Just minutes before a tree split her home in two, Jessie Lewis was sitting on a sofa that was directly in its path. As she gathered some clothes to go to a hotel, she took a look inside the home in Natchez in Adams County that she shares with her husband, Bill, and nearly 3-year-old grandson, Kamden Lewis.

“We can’t do anything until an adjuster gets out here,” Bill Lewis told the Natchez Democrat on Sunday.

Residents were cleaning up Monday after weekend storms ripped through Mississippi leaving one dead, eight homes destroyed and dozens more damaged. Homes and businesses in at least 15 counties received damage from the severe weather that brought strong winds, heavy rains and flash flood warnings to much of the state.

“When I heard the hail start, I took (Kamden) to the window so he could see it,” Lewis said of Sunday’s storm. “Then the thunder started and the lights went out. The dark scared him.”

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said he hadn’t heard from the National Weather Service, which was supposed to send a survey team to see if the damage there was caused by a tornado. About 48 homes and a dozen businesses had some damage, he said.

“This is from everything from a limb through the roof to destroyed,” he said.

Sunday’s storms spawned possible tornadoes from Mississippi to Georgia and killed 46-year-old Kimberly Bellais of Laurel who was hit by a tree while she stood outside her home, Jones County Coroner Nancy Barnett said. Another person in Jones County was injured.

The severe weather began Saturday when at least five homes in Mantachie in Itawamba County were damaged by high winds that tore through around 2 p.m.

Lincoln County had 23 houses, businesses, or mobile homes damaged by the storm.

Lincoln County EMA director Clifford Galey said the damage was spread throughout the county, but there was some damage in the town of Brookhaven.

“A lot of trees and power lines down and some of the homes had just minor damage,” Galey said. We still have a few people without power.”

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney urged weekend storm victims to document their damage and file insurance claims quickly.

“Damage from these storms has been reported all over the state, from Mantachie to Natchez. Our thoughts are with victims as they begin cleanup and repairs,” Chaney said.

The Associated Press