Cleanup Help Possible

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While the storm damage was not as extensive as was originally feared, Meridian's homeland security director says the city can go on private property to remove trees.

The window of opportunity is very small, however, and the rules are very strict.

"We can for the first three days after the event," said Bunky Partridge. "Starting yesterday, which was Sunday, during the event there was a declaration of disaster for the city of Meridian. Now we are allowed to go on private property and take the trees down that are involved in life hazard. Not the ones that are in people's backyard, but if it's on your house or maybe your car or something and you can't get to work or whatever, we'll help you out with that for the first three days."

The number for Meridian residents to call is 601-484-6899.

As for federal help when a dwelling itself is damaged, there is a necessary threshold before it can become available.

"(Federal help may come) once it reaches a certain plateau that we're going to have to calculate from different communities," Partridge said. "If we reach that 500,000 threshold for the state of Mississippi or this area, then we will do an application to FEMA."

"And we encourage the citizens to call us and let us know. Don't wait a week or two," said Partridge. "Let us know now what's happening with your community, your house. We can talk to them and see how much damage it is and if they need to come in, advise them to come in and fill out the paperwork."