It was definitely an eerie feeling driving to The South Reporter office at about 4 a.m. Sunday, June 3.
Small limbs and leaves were all in the street as we left Cedar Hills and drove on Chulahoma Avenue toward downtown, but nothing major.
It was still dark outside, of course, but this driving experience was total darkness – no electricity anywhere.
We couldn’t continue on Chulahoma just past the intersection with Craft. A huge tree and utility lines blocked the road. It was then we realized this had been a powerful thunderstorm that quickly hit our city about two and a half hours earlier.
We took an alternate route, and at the office, all was OK. We had lost electricity, but it was back on, and the alarm was sounding.
The electricity went off and on a few times while at the office.
I walked around adjacent buildings and to the downtown area to see if there was any damage. Then as daylight arrived, I grabbed my camera and went to work.
The more I drove around the city, the more trees I saw down – on houses, across streets, on utility lines.
I was taking a photo of a tree down beside the United Methodist Church when I saw Shane Strickland next door checking on his gas station property.
He asked me if I had been by police chief Dwight Harris’ house on Craft Street.
I said, “No.”
He said, “Go by there.”
That was my next stop. A huge tree had tumbled across the front of the house.
Chief Harris and his family were inside when it hit but thankfully not hurt.
Chief told me later, “It was scary. But we are certainly blessed.”
I was told similar things by many who had severe damage to homes and automobiles due to the storm.
It’s unbelievable that no one was injured in this terrible storm. If about any large tree that was downed had fallen a different way, our city could have experienced serious injuries or loss of lives.
We can clean up messes. We can repair houses. We can buy new cars. But we can’t replace family.
Pam and I had to leave for Jackson about 8 a.m. When we got back to town about 5:30 p.m., I drove around more and saw more damage.
In last week’s newspaper, Bill Stone, general manager of the Holly Springs Utility Department, was quoted as saying, “It was a very brief storm but a very violent storm. At 2 a.m. Sunday, it looked like a war zone in Holly Springs.”
At our house, we were without electricity for 62 hours. We threw away pretty much all the contents of our refrigerator; we had no air conditioning; we couldn’t take a hot shower or watch TV; we used flashlights and candles. We had a picnic at The South Reporter, sat outside on the tailgate of the pickup truck and talked, and got invited to dinner by good friends who had electricity.
Lack of electricity for such an extended period was frustrating, but at the same time we knew HSUD workers and others assisting were dedicated, doing dangerous work and exhausted. We knew our situation could have been a whole lot worse.