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|Straight line winds cause heavy damage Sunday|
The Concordia Parish Police Jury is seeking a state disposal permit to remove and burn piles of limbs and debris left in the aftermath of Sunday's storm, which included high wind and hail.
"We had wind gusts of 70 to 75 miles per hour," said Concordia Parish Homeland Security Director Morris White. "These were straight line winds that were felt all over the parish. In my 33 years in this job, it's the worse straight line wind damage I've ever seen."
He said the major damage was from the area along Hwy. 129 (Stacey to Monterey road) to the Clayton, Lake St. John, Ferriday, Ridgecrest and Vidalia areas.
Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the "backside of Lake St. John and Clayton may have got the worst of it. There's a lot of trees on the ground and some structural damage to homes."
White said the winds began gusting Sunday morning at 25 to 30 mph, picked up to 45 to 50 mph before the main storm hit around 9 a.m.
"The trees kept bending, but those gusts started hitting 55 to 60 and then up to 75 miles per hour and the trees went from bending to breaking," said White. "Luckily we didn't have a lot of structural damage to homes. We had some, but overall we had a lot of limbs and trees on roofs. The winds also took shingles off."
White said the highest winds "were about 30 feet off the ground."
He said work to document all the damage parishwide should be complete by Wednesday.
Jury President Melvin Ferrington asked for the patience of residents in the removal of limbs and debris.
"We declared an emergency here so we can get a permit to dispose this debris," said Ferrington. "We were allowed to burn the limbs and debris at the maintenance barn following the hurricanes but that was only due to the emergency declaration. We're prepared to do that again, but first we have to get a special permit from DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality). It's really just a burn permit for disposal."
Ferrington also said residents who had room on their property could "burn their limbs and their debris. It may be a long time before we can pick it all up. We ask everyone to be patient."
Concordia Electric Executive Secretary Lori Jackson said 19 transmission poles and 25 distribution poles were leveled in areas from Larto to Deer Park to Acme to Clayton.
She said three different companies came to the aid of Concordia Electric crews in restoring power.
"We should be a day, if not hours, from having everyone restored," she said Tuesday.
Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said high winds did some damage "to the pump at the old lift station near Walmart."
He said there were "a lot of limbs and trees on the ground. We worked with the Police Jury and helped them on two of their roads. We moved seven big trees off Fisherman Drive and one off Bayou Drive."
The mayor said some residents in Ferriday were still without power Monday morning.
"We were almost out of water when the lights came back Sunday night," said McGlothin, "We desperately need two generators for our water system -- one at the intake two miles from the water plant and the other at the water plant. It'll take $131,000 for this and we're trying to get a grant."
He said work was underway to dispose of limbs and debris.
Vidalia experienced outages and damage from limbs and winds but was "more fortunate than other places," Mayor Hyram Copeland said Tuesday.
"We got 95 percent of the power back on Sunday and the rest on Monday," he said. "A lot of poles were torn down from falling trees. We're trying to get the limbs up now."
Ridgecrest Elementary was closed Monday because of no electricity.
Town Clerk Dana Delaughter said most of the town was without electricity until Monday morning around 10 a.m.
"There were a lot of trees down," Delaughter said. "I saw one house with tree damage and a couple of cars, but mostly it was on fences. No one was injured from the storm."
Clayton Town Clerk Sadie Jones said the town received "a lot of wind damage" and was without electricity until Monday afternoon.
"A tree fell on the front of the roof of the Head Start building and messed it up," Jones said. "There were trees uprooted. We're just fortunate nobody was seriously hurt from it."
Sunday morning's storm and strong winds heavily damaged the Community Center's rear wall, making it unsafe, the sheriff noted.
County Agent Glen Daniels said "the tremendous amount of wind buckled over corn stalks" and replanting will be necessary in some locations.
"Most farmers planted an average of 32,000 plants per acre," said Daniels. "We're hoping that enough was planted to compensate for the damage."
He estimated that about 80 percent of the soybean acreage has been planted, 60 percent of the rice, 80 percent of the grain sorghum and 75 percent of the cotton.
"We could use the rain but not strong winds," said Daniels. "There was some hail that fell throughout the parish but I haven't heard of any crop damage due to hail."
He said the 1.3 inches of rain that fell "will delay the cotton planting. Another rain will put us out of the fields in the heavy clay and gumbo."
This crop year, said Daniels, has been "expensive and tough for farmers."
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