Crittenden County residents still picking up the pieces after storms

Crittenden County residents still picking up the pieces after storms

Memorial Day weekend marked by high winds, damaged property

Wind roared through the county in the midnight hours overnight on Saturday with area residents awaking to damages. Reports about twisted siding on barns and shops, broken trees and scattered shingles were called into the county. There were some power outages in West Memphis from the wind. County crews responded moving huge limbs from roads north of the county seat according to Judge Woody Wheeless.

Reports of steady 65-to-70 mile an hour winds, with straight line wind gusts of up to 105 were reported across the region. No injuries were reported despite the destruction.

“In Marion and the county north of Marion there were several big trees blown across the road,” said Wheeless.

“On McNeely and Evelyn roads, there were two big shop buildings completely destroyed. A farm shop on Highway 50 was completely destroyed.”

Downed trees also blocked Gammon Road, Marion Lake Road and a county crew cleared a pecan tree north of Crawfordsville in the county.

“I had to move some of those trees with our biggest front end loader; that’s how big they were,” said Wheeless.

The storm took responders by surprise. While hail and rain had been reported all day tracking in from Oklahoma and across the state, the straight-line winds came in advance of the thunderstorm.

“We did not have advance warning of the wind,” said Wheeless. “I was watching the radar when I knew weather was coming in.

When the rain line was between Marked Tree and Earle, the wind line was in advance of all that. It caught us off guard.”

West Memphis Utilities Engineer Zach Winters reported power outages for commercial and residential customers and said most service was restored in the wee hours on Sunday morning. Downed poles and trees resulted in blown utility company breakers.

“We had a couple of poles knocked down on primary, knocking breakers off,” said Winters. “There were some trees along the bayou behind Walmart knocked onto the primary but did not knock lines down. One more outage off the railroad at Temple Inland was our equipment behind their security gate. We had some time waiting to get access into their facility. Most service was restored between

1 o’clock and 3 a.m.” It wasn’t as bad as reports as it could have been considering

the outages reported in Memphis and Southhaven.

“Really in comparison to what has happened around us we were not effected nearly as much as anybody else.”

Recently efforts by West Memphis Utilities and Entergy began to clear over growth from city allies which may have saved some individual outages in the older southeast part of town.

“If someone’s service got torn down our crews stayed out most of the weekend to finish restoring those spots,” said Winters.

By John Rech