Intense winds brought by a severe thunderstorm system tore through Alcorn County Saturday afternoon, leaving a path of destruction one emergency official compared to the infamous ice storm of 1994.
“The amount and spread of the damage reminds you of 1994,” said Alcorn County Emergency Management Director Rickey Gibens.
Sustained winds were clocked at over 70 mph, uprooting trees and downing power lines across the county. Numerous city streets and county roads were left impassable. More than 11,000 Alcorn County Electric Power Association customers were without power at the peak of the damage.
Gibens said while the damage was extremely widespread, no one was hurt in the storm. He had reports of roof damage to numerous homes from falling trees and a huge number of trees across roads.
“We have so much widespread damage, you almost can’t get your head around it,” he said.
City of Corinth Public Works Director Clayton Mills said the city took a major hit and cleanup will take days, if not weeks.
“It’s huge damage. The whole city has been hit very hard,” he said.
Much of the damage was centered in the historic residential area surrounding downtown with trees and power lines blocking dozens of streets. Mills said the damage extends out from downtown in all directions.
Alcorn County Electric Power Association Chief Operating Officer jason Grisham said it could be several days before power is restored to all customers. Crews were working through the night Saturday night and several crews from outside the area were expected to arrive Sunday morning to assist with the effort.
“It’s just a huge, huge area,” he said.
One downtown business owner took a direct hit. OfficePro owner John D Mercier was busy Saturday afternoon cleaning up broken glass were the winds shattered plate glass windows along the front and side of store. He said nothing came through the glass, it was simply hit by the intense wind and he was thankful no one was hurt.
A massive effort was under way Saturday to clear debris from roads.
“It’s all hands on deck,” said Mills.
He said city workers in all departments had been called in to help along with some local contractors with the goal of getting all streets passable and safe for motorists.
Gibens said all of the county’s volunteer fire departments, county supervisor crews and volunteers from the public were working to clear the roads and respond to problem areas.