George County vulnerable in storm with Zeta debris still on the ground

George County vulnerable in storm with Zeta debris still on the ground

GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - While there is an enhanced risk of severe weather through all of South Mississippi, George County has an additional problem. Debris from Hurricane Zeta is still on the ground throughout the county.

Lee Harbison had about 12 trees fall during Hurricane Zeta, and some will likely go in the next storm.

His debris pile is not going; it’s growing.

“Most of these yards are one to two to three acres in size,” he said. “It’s heavily wooded here. So, there’s debris everywhere.”

That debris could become weapons in a storm or tornado.

“Yeah, that would certainly add to the problem, you’re right,” Harbison said. “Or even, heck, if we get into hurricane season, we’ve got another serious problem there with a lot of debris on the ground.”

It’s not just debris on the ground.

“There’s a lot of leaning trees still here,” said Larry McDonald, the District 3 George County supervisor. “So the ground is wet from a lot of the moisture we’ve had from rain in the past, and this wind and rain coming through will probably push a few trees down and cause some more problems with the debris.”

Added to that, there are homes still vulnerable after Zeta.

“Contractors are backed up,” he said. “There was a lot of damage during Hurricane Zeta. So, we’re still in the process of getting homes repaired. So, we’re very concerned about the rain and the wind that’s coming with this storm.”

All the Zeta debris has been removed in the city limits of Lucedale, but none of the debris located on state roads have been removed.

Because of a lawsuit involving one of the bidders, the circuit judge has issued a stop-work order in the county, leaving about 55% of the work to be done - including that at Harbison’s residence.

“I’m very frustrated,” McDonald said. “This lawsuit has got us stopped, and it’s not what the county wants. It’s not what the county needs. So we have our board attorney on top of it and trying to follow the legal process to have this resolved.”

The company that lost the bid for the county debris work claims that the paperwork in the process was not done properly.

McDonald said he’s not sure when the debris on the state roads will be picked up in George County, but he said it is all scheduled to be done by June.

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