Picayune Picks Up The Pieces From Tuesday's Storm

The early estimate is that 39 homes in or near Picayune sustained some sort of storm damage Tuesday morning.

Bobby Strahan is the Pearl River County Civil Defense Director. He said that if all the trees that fell hit houses, "we would have major, major destruction here. So we were really very fortunate, even though we do have a lot of damage, that a lot of these trees that fell didn't hit houses."

Strahan said Pearl River County's damage probably won't qualify for federal disaster assistance.

You would think a tree that snapped in half and crashed into a house would sound like an alarm clock. Jessica Pierce must have hit the snooze button. Friends told Pierce her house was shaking, "and I slept through it." she admitted. "It took three people to wake me up."

The owners of Pierce's rental house were waiting for insurance agents to stop by before they got rid of the mess.

Some 30 hours after the storm toppled trees and snapped power lines, Picayune had most of its roads open to traffic again. But there were exceptions.

North Haugh Avenue was littered with tree trunks. The road runs past the Boys and Girls Club building. It's across the street from a house Mike Torres just remodeled. On top of the house was a storm damaged tree limb. Torres said it wasn't part of the new roof design. "I finished it Friday. And the storm came through," Torres said. "I guess we'll start working on it again."

Leaf blowers and chain saws echoed through storm damaged neighborhoods. Hilda Perrette said they sounded nothing like the train that blew through Picayune Tuesday morning. "It sounded terrible. It was just kind of roaring up a racket," the Dozier Street resident said.

At the height of Tuesday's storm, Perrette heard a front yard tree slam into her roof. Her son's bedroom suddenly had an unwanted sunroof.

Preston Perrette vividly remembered the moment. He was drinking coffee on the front porch when the skies turned a scary color. "Then all of a sudden, the wind just picked up. These trees here were just getting it," he said.

Volunteers helped Preston Perrette stack the fallen tree limbs in a 10 foot pile. He hid behind the debris as he stood on the porch and relived Tuesday's horror.

The estimate so far is that Pearl River County had about a million dollars worth of storm damage.

The winds and the power outage forced Picayune schools to cancel classes Wednesday classes. But, students will be back in school Thursday morning.