Photo by Barry BurlesonA large tree and utility lines cover Chulahoma Avenue in Holly Springs behind the home of Tim and Lisa Liddy after Sunday morning’s storm.
Photo by Christy OwensA fallen tree crushes a car at the home of Keith and Christy Owens on Salem Avenue. It also heavily damaged another vehicle.
Photo by Beth WadeDaylight shines through a bedroom ceiling after a tree fell onto the home of Milton and Becky Bryant on Salem Avenue.
Photo by Barry BurlesonA downed tree from the storm covers the front of the home of Dwight and Charisse Brown-Harris on Craft Street in Holly Springs.
Photo by Barry BurlesonStorm clean-up is in progress Monday after a couple of trees fell Sunday morning adjacent to the Beckley Center at Rust College.
Photo by Barry BurlesonA fallen tree from the front yard lands on the home of Becky Cupp at Chulahoma Avenue and South Center Street in Holly Springs.
Storm downs trees across city
An early Sunday morning thunderstorm charged with lightening and strong winds took down a lot of large trees, many falling on houses and utility lines.
The soil was already saturated with moisture from heavy rains Friday and earlier in the spring, which likely contributed heavily to the tumbling of trees.
Power outages were scattered and line crews worked to restore power Sunday, Monday and into Tuesday. The Holly Springs Utility Department brought in contract crews to clear some areas in advance of line repairs.
“It was a very brief storm but a very violent storm,” said Bill Stone, HSUD general manager. “At 2 a.m. Sunday it looked like a war zone in Holly Springs.”
No injures were reported.
The storm hit about 1:15 a.m., and after utility crews worked hard all day Sunday, at 9 a.m. Monday, HSUD still had over 500 outages. About 100 more customers were back on by noon Monday, Stone said. There were still group and individual outages.
Crews were wrestling with getting power back on in the Bethany Road area of Potts Camp and Bowen Road area in Benton County and in the Woodland Heights and Cedar Hill area west of the center of Holly Springs.
Additional group outages identified Monday by crews included the following – Chatham Heights, Ridge Craft Drive, Greenbriar Circle, Joe Cox Road, Johnson Park, E. Falconer, North Walthall Street, North Randolph Street, E. Van Dorn, Hubbard Road, W. Woodward Avenue, and Liles Road in Red Banks – many of which were restored to power by the end of the day Monday.
Stone said more outages were located when the South Substation came back on. Outages were still prevalent in Potts Camp and around Woodland Heights/Cedar Hill in Holly Springs where significant damages were found that HSUD did not expect.
Five spans of wire were located down in a wooded area adjacent to Woodland Heights.
Becky Cupp, who lives at Chulahoma Avenue and South Center Street, said trees were affected on just about every corner of town. She was first in line to get a fallen pecan tree off her roof, she said, when she called her insurance provider, Craft and Wynne, early Sunday. Two holes were punched in her roof and water came into her living room area.
“It woke me up; it scared me to death,” she said.
This is the second tree in as many years that Cupp has lost, the first to a lightening strike.
“I hate it for everybody in town,” she said. “It’s not just one person. It could have been worse. Thank goodness nobody got hurt.”
A tree fell onto a portion of Milton and Becky Bryant’s house on Salem Avenue.
“I heard it hit, but first thought it was just part of the thunder,” Becky said.
She later discovered water dripping heavily from a ceiling fan and damage to a bedroom.
“I looked up and I could see daylight,” Becky said.
Other houses were damaged. Connie Hensley’s house on South Center Street lost its front porch, and a huge tree fell across the front of Dwight and Charisse Brown-Harris’ house on Craft Street – just to name a few.
The historic Chalmers Institute lost a portion of the northeast corner of the building to tree damage.
Trees were downed on the lawn of historic Montrose with limbs taking out an outside brick wall on the west side of the house. And trees fell at Strawberry Plains in the powerful thunderstorm.
In Hill Crest Cemetery, nine trees were either killed or heavily damaged. One old hickory (#176) was uprooted, #163, #164, and #165 cypresses were topped or down. These are census trees just marked in 2017. Also 171 cypress was topped and two cypress were uprooted. Cypress 159 and 149 lost limbs and the old cottonwood tree in front lost more limbs.
This is the second time in as many years when Hill Crest Cemetery lost some of its vintage trees to winds and storms.
Northcentral EPA, which serves the Byhalia area, did not experience much storm damage.
“We were fortunate during this event, in that we dodged the major damage that our neighboring utilities experienced,” said Michael Bellipanni with Northcentral. “Sunday morning was fairly uneventful for us. We had only a handful of scattered outages in the Red Banks Road area, north of Highway 302. The system seems to have intensified as it crossed Northcentral’s service area.”
County administrator Larry Hall said heavy rains dumped five inches of rain and winds caused storm damage to trees and power lines on Old Highway 7 South and Callicutt Road late Friday afternoon. Damages extended to Lake Center. On Sunday, winds traveling from north to south came across the Tennessee line into the Mt. Pleasant area and picked up steam as it approached Holly Springs. These storms came through the Cornersville area in the Highway 349 area.
Hall said the storm was four to five miles wide and made a direct pass through the county from north to south.
Monday, county crews were checking out voting precincts in the northern portion of the county to determine if backup generators would be needed for the Tuesday primaries.