Photo by Sue WatsonDeSoto County Electric crews work up in the bucket to rebuild power lines at East Boundary and Highway 178 East.
Photo by Mark MillerStrong winds snapped this pole on Neely Avenue.
Storms leave many in dark for hours
Strong winds Wednesday night, March 13, caused damages to power lines or poles, and many in Marshall County lost electricity during the night.
People were without power for hours, some as long as eight or more, while Holly Springs Utility Department and contract crews, such as DeSoto County Electric, worked to replace utility poles, one of which was snapped near the Neely Substation.
Neely supplies electricity to areas in the west of Holly Springs and also south to Waterford.
The loss of power also threatened water supply in Holly Springs, said HSUD general manager Bill Stone.
Utility poles were broken by trees that were snapped by strong winds at East Boundary and Highway 178 East and on Neely Avenue, Stone said.
He kept HSUD customers up to date on the situation beginning as early as 2 a.m. Thursday. He appeared on HSUD’s Facebook page to explain what was taking place. He said the lines damaged could not have occurred “in a worse place in the system.”
Power comes out of the South Holly Springs Substation at Neely Avenue and flows east and west and to places south of the city. Stone said 90 percent of the outages, affecting twothirds to three-fourths of the City of Holly Springs, was created by damage to a three-circuit, three-phase line on Neely Avenue.
Also affected were the communities of Laws Hill, Potts Camp, Marianna Road and Hernando Road, Waterford, and Liberty Road in Benton County.
The broken pole west of the Neely Substation on Highway 178 carried three circuits, he said. Workers had to rebuild lines. There were outages at Stateline Road in Benton County.
A planned outage will be scheduled at night this week to complete the work on a utility pole on Neely Avenue. That pole carries three, three-phase circuits.
All total, Stone estimated that as many as 3,000 customers were out of service during night hours.
He praised the work of crews, many of whom worked all day Thursday into the night, some until 1 a.m. Friday, when most customers had electricity restored.
The off-site connection to the HSUD server was down and didn’t come back up until about 10 a.m. Thursday, Stone said.
Businesses in Holly Springs were affected by the outages.
Walmart had to empty its fresh meat cases. That included the counter at the deli and the case there, and all the cases on the side containing products such as ground beef, steaks, and some cheese products.
Casey Staheli, senior manager, national media relations for corporate communications, explained Walmart’s response in an email Friday morning.
“Unfortunately, due to a power outage Wednesday night that affected our Holly Springs store, we were required to dispose of food that was unsafe to eat after the loss of power for about seven hours,” he said. “We followed proper procedures by disposing of the food per internal and health department policies.”
“The store was restocked after the power came back on.”
Fred Carlisle at Cash Saver said the outage did not affect any of their chilled or frozen products. His equipment held up, he said.
At Tyson Drugs, Kathy Elgin said the computer and phones went down due to interruption of MaxxSouth services.
“Ours was because of internet operations,” Elgin said. “These storms are fun. It makes life interesting, doesn’t it?”
Nancy Hutchens, who has a real estate office and tax service downtown, and her employees were in the dark around 10 a.m. when power was interrupted on the square for about an hour. None of her equipment was damaged. She said the electricity at her house on Stafford Avenue was out from about midnight Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday.
Harold Murphy was at Hutchens’ #1 Realty Group office discussing the wall separation her building and the Callicutt building. He said the exterior of the building had separated another inch upstairs from the crosswall between the two businesses.
At Fidelity National Loans employees opened the front door to let in more light and fresh air. They said their office uses AT&T and the internet would be back up when the power came back on.
Cooks at JB’s Restaurant had already completed lunch but were also in the dark waiting for electricity to return.
Sheila Jones at JB’s said her cell phone data service was blocked.
Tom Stewart at Southern Eatery said lunch was cooked before power went out midmorning so his business was not affected by the outages.
“I’m one of those people who says utility crews did a good job,” Stewart said. “I wouldn’t want to be out in it. I think they did a fine job.”
At the courthouse, circuit clerk Lucy Carpenter could not access the internet to pull up files. Electricity was out in her office for about two and a half hours, she said. The county’s server, AS400, was not available. The county uses AT&T.
“Power was not out this morning when I got here,” she said.
Fred Holland was at Rust College radio station in an interview on National Agriculture Month with Sharron Goodman-Hill, he said. The power outage interrupted the broadcast for about 30 minutes.
Holland, who lives on Russom Road, said his electricity was out about three hours from 11 p.m. Wednesday until about 1 a.m. Thursday.
Marty Birmingham, delivery man for FedEx in Holly Springs, said employees working outside at the Hub in Memphis, Tenn., had to come inside while the weather conditions cleared. That caused work to be held back and a delay in launching aircraft, he said.
Around town, some businesses and homes lost some of their shingles.