GLOSTER— Hurricane Delta blew through Friday night and early Saturday morning with enough fury to cause widespread power outages and leave people with plenty of yard work to tend to but apparently little in the way of structural damage in Southwest Mississippi.
The Category 2 hurricane made landfall with 100 mph winds Friday evening in Creole, La., near where Hurricane Laura struck weeks earlier, and marched northeast. It was about 65 miles northwest of Jackson and moving across Mississippi on Saturday afternoon.
Delta dropped trees across roads and brought down power lines. Entergy Mississippi had made some progress on restoring outages in McComb by early Saturday afternoon, but Delta darkened nearly all of the utility’s grid in Amite and Wilkinson counties.
Magnolia Electric Power had more than 10,000 people without electricity early Saturday afternoon, down from 18,000 peak outages. The electric cooperative said more than 4,000 of the remaining outages were due to the loss of transmission from substations in Liberty and Smithdale.
Linemen were still making damage assessments Saturday and had discovered at least 15 broken power poles.
Additional crews had arrived in the area and more are coming Sunday to help restore power, the utility said.
Cars lined up for gas at Vines convenience store in Centreville and at the BKwik Chevron in Gloster on Saturday morning as the businesses operated on generator power.
Across from the BKwik, Larry Veal and a small army of friends and relatives were working to clean up after a large oak tree fell across his family’s home.
“Me, my wife and my son were just sitting here and the lights had just went out ... then we heard something,” he said. “My son right there, the part of the limb stuck through the house. It was right over his head. In the back bedroom there, it brought a lot of that ceiling down too.”
Veal said the power went out around 10 p.m. Friday as Delta moved closer to Southwest Mississippi.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency hadn’t released any initial damage reports by Saturday afternoon. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said there were no fatalities reported as of Saturday.
Pike County Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan said the county mostly weathered Delta well, with no initial reports of structural damage.
“We did good. We probably had 15 to 20 trees that were down in the road. I don’t know of any structures damaged,” he said.
Coghlan said Delta brought peak winds of 51 mph as it blew over county.
Officials with the American Red Cross closed the shelter at the Pike County Community Safe Room, where Coghlan said a few people showed up to ride out the storm.
While Delta was weaker than Category 4 Laura and took a similar course, its impacts were greater on Southwest Mississippi.
“This one actually came a little close to us than Laura did,” Coghlan said.
With more than a month left in the busy 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season, Coghlan said he’s grateful Pike County has mostly been spared from significant damage, calling Delta a close call.
“I think we fared quite well. I was really, really concerned,” he said.
But the season isn’t over yet, and the National Hurricane Center is monitoring a tropical disturbance far off in the Atlantic that forecasters say has a 10% chance of forming into a topical cyclone in the next 48 hours. If it does, it’ll be named Epsilon.