JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s that second round of winter weather that took the biggest toll on Mississippi’s ability to keep the lights on. Widespread power outages are a problem through much of the state Thursday.
Trees and power lines were coated in ice and limbs looked nearly white against the gray skies.
“Worst ice storm since 1994,” explained Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. “The width of it is worse than 1994. The single digit temperatures we saw on Tuesday morning and then the ice that came through yesterday was the real culprit. The freezing rain and ice is why outages went from a peak on Monday of 64,000 on Monday to 200,000 this morning.”
That number is dwindling but the icy roads are slowing crews down.
“So we’re looking at some of the outages stretching from early to mid next week,” said Entergy Mississippi spokesperson Mara Hartman. “We know that’s very hard to hear and we ask customers to be patient and we’re restoring everyone as quickly as we’re safely able to do so.”
Terrence Simmons was picking up pieces of the limb that fell under the weight of the ice around his house in Jackson.
“There’s no heat right now,” said Simmons. “We’re trying to make the best of it. Like the warmest place in my house right now is in my bed when I’m under the covers.”
His neighbor was outside grabbing a charge on his cell phone from the car in the driveway.
“Cold, cold, just cold,” noted Donya Douglas. “Luckily I’ve still got some gas. So, I’ve still got a little heat in the house.”
And the hum of a brand new generator was echoing through the street over where Bridgette Jackson and her husband live.
“This morning we got up and the room we were in was still pretty warm because we had all the doors closed,” said Bridgette Jackson. “But the rest of the house was cold pretty much. My husband decided to get up and go find a generator.
“So, he got on the phone and called around. It don’t matter how much it costs. We need a generator today because we don’t know how long this is going to last. And thankfully we don’t have any small kids or anything. It’s just him and I. So, we’re going to manage.”
Entergy Mississippi has 180 crew members coming over from Arkansas to help with restoration. And other power companies are working with contractors to supplement their crews.
A safety reminder: Entergy wants you to remember that if you are running a generator, you don’t need to do so inside or in an enclosed space like the garage.
That can be dangerous and even deadly.