By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
A storm that passed through Pearl River County on Thursday dumped 2.1 inches of rain in less than an hour causing street flooding, minor flooding to the new addition of city hall, and some vehicular accidents.
Reports were also made of a possible tornado that passed through the county, but Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley said there have been no reports of a tornado touching down, or of any major structural damage to homes or businesses. However radar close to the county detected circulation indicative of a tornado, but confirmation has yet to be made.
Manley said the flag pole in front of the county court house in Poplarville was bent to the ground and a dead tree fell into the road at the Poplarville Jacob’s Well as a result of the storm, but no county resident has called in major damage.
At Picayune’s city hall, rain fell so fast that water came beneath the entrance doors located between the addition and the historic side of the building. Water also entered through the seal of a window at the entrance of the addition that faces Quince Street. Flooding at the building was limited to some wet carpet and tile, but nothing major.
City Engineer Brooks Wallace said he has some ideas how the city can rectify any future flooding at city hall, but declined to elaborate until he researches the problem further. Mayor Ed Pinero said city employees will double check drains around city hall to see if any are clogged from construction debris and also work to widen drain openings to prevent any future flooding.
“It is a concern and it’s something we’re looking at,” Pinero said. “It was a lot of rain and a lot of water.”
At least three accidents occurred prior to and during the storm. A major accident on Mississippi Highway 43 North, was described by county resident Charles Lee, who said as he was north bound on the highway he saw a vehicle approach his rear at a high rate of speed. The vehicle turned off the road before hitting his vehicle. After leaving the road it rolled and hit a tree.
Lee said he stopped to check on the driver, pulling the man from the vehicle. After the driver was pulled from the vehicle, the driver grabbed a bunch of items, including pill bottles, from the wrecked vehicle and ran into the woods.
Police and fire fighters gave chase and later caught up with the driver, identified as 50-year-old Harvey Mitchell of 207 Rollingwood Dr., Carriere. Investigation into the pill bottles found non narcotic medication inside, but Mitchell was still charged with driving while license suspended, leaving the scene of an accident, no insurance, and no seatbelt, said Assistant to the Picayune Chief of Police Jeremy Magri.
Shortly after that accident police officers were sent to two other accidents along Interstate 59. One involved a vehicle that left the south bound lane on the right hand where it appeared a vehicle left the road and became stuck. No one appeared to be injured.
The second accident on I-59 occurred in the north bound lane near the weigh stations. After Magri, who was one of the first on scene, checked to ensure no one was still inside, he was told by another officer that the occupants had already walked to the nearby weigh station and were not injured.
No fatalities or major injuries had been reported by late afternoon as a result of the storm.