Lauderdale County declares local emergency, crews work to clear debris

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 4:44 PM CST
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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Lauderdale County has declared a local state of emergency. This will allow county crews to clean up debris at a faster, but they still won’t be able to go onto private property.

The damage is so sporadic that it’s hard to capture just how many trees and limbs fell throughout Lauderdale County, much less our counties to the north.

“We responded to 32 different roads last night, which was pretty much the bulk of the damage this week,” Lauderdale County Road Manager Rush Mayatt said.

County work crews, volunteer firefighters and utility workers did their best to clear the debris, even while trees were falling Wednesday night.

“It sounded like a war going on. I know that sounds like a far stretch, but the amount of continuous popping, snapping and crashing of trees going on around us was unnerving,” Martin Fire Chief Jeremy Pogue said.

Many Lauderdale County residents are also without water. Officials say some pumping stations rely on power to operate and that could be the primary cause.

In the northern part of the county, the Martin community was hit hard.

“We had guys working on trees and getting them out of the roadway. We also had guys focused on safety and watching the trees around us,” Pogue explained.

Ice buildup continues on pine trees in the Collinsville area and places north. Many trees snapped, looking more like tornado damage than damage from an ice storm.

“You are still going to have some limbs and trees fall. The ground is saturated and that’s just what happens,” Mayatt says.

Debris removal won’t come fast. The county urges patience while everything is sorted out.

Mayatt said if a tree is blocking the roadway, then you should call 911 to pass along the information. If there are leaning trees or low hanging limbs that need to be cut, then you can go to Lauderdale County’s website and fill out a work order. Mayatt says this is the most efficient way to get information to county crews.

It’s not something that will happen at the first of next week or so. We will be working with volunteer agencies and the road crews to get everything cleaned up after this storm,” Lauderdale County Emergency Management Director Odie Barrett said.

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