Webster cleanup

Staff photo by Zack Steen

The City of Corinth Street Department crew works to clear an oak tree on Webster Street. The tree, snapped by Saturday’s storm, was blocking a driveway and had crushed a power line and pole.

Recovery continues for Corinth and Alcorn County after strong straight line winds destroyed much of the area on Saturday.

Assistance from FEMA could be coming, but according to Alcorn County Director of Emergency Services Ricky Gibens counties affected by the storm across the state must complete damage assessments prior to that declaration.

According to MEMA, 17 counties received damage from the passing of Tropical Storm Olga. All counties but Alcorn have reported numbers to MEMA. Gibens said the damage is far greater here than other areas in the state.

“So far — just in county — we have 139 homes with structural damage and one home destroyed,” Gibens said. “On Tuesday, we began assessing Farmington, Glen and Biggersville areas and a team began in Corinth. It will take us a few more days likely to complete.”

Gibens said the team includes Corinth Fire Chief Todd Welch, who was in downtown Corinth on Tuesday reviewing damage.

“The downtown historic residential area is by far the worst of the damage, but that was likely because there were some many older trees,” said Gibens. “Really the entire county has damage. It’s everywhere — so widespread.”

At least $4.5 million in damages would have to be reached among the counties affected in Mississippi before the governor could request federal assistance. This would allow the area to take advantage of FEMA monies and resources.

Until then, Gibens said, “We’ve got to just take care of ourselves.”

He added city and county government workers can not cut trees off homes.

“That’s a misconception going around. These workers are clearing debris from the roads, and cannot come on private land,” said Gibens. “For those with damage, they need to contact their insurance companies and get guidance from there.”

He said the Red Cross and MEMA officials are still setup at the Crossroads Arena convention center offering help to those in need. There are also some nonprofit groups and faith-based groups who are helping and those contacts can be provided by officials at the arena. The Salvation Army is working as well to provide items needed and are also cooking three hot meals for those in need each day.

Gibens said those without power decreased to around 1,600 in the city and county by Tuesday afternoon.

“ACE found more issues and those without power went back up over 2,000 overnight Monday, but then came down even lower by lunch on Tuesday,” he said. “Crews from ACE and other electric companies in town helping with the recovery should be commended for what they have done to get people back up and running as quickly and safely as possible.”

The ACE office has remained open the past two nights for those who need to pickup new meter bases or have other concerns.

Classes in Corinth schools resumed on Tuesday and will resume at Alcorn County schools on Wednesday.

Those who need help should contact Gibens’ office at 662-286-7737.

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