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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

'The worst storm in 50 years'

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trucks wait for daylight to begin repair work.
NEW MADRID - The National Guard will assist in efforts to assure citizens are safe.

Gov. Jay Nixon authorized the Guard to join recovery efforts Wednesday.

County officials say the assistance will be welcomed.

Gas lines formed quickly at any stations with power.
"This is the worst disaster in 50 years," said Steve Jones, Mississippi County commissioner. Jones, who took office Jan. 1, said he didn't expect to be faced with such a dire situation so early in his term. "I've only been in for three meetings," he said.

Jones and the other county commissioners met briefly Thursday then closed down the courthouse.

"The sheriff's department was there and we talked with them," Jones said.

Jones said all of the county's roads are passable expect for County Road 404 which has several power lines down. "They are going to have to move the power lines before we can get the rest of the limbs off," he said.

Mississippi County is also suffering from power outages.

"There's partial power in Charleston, there's no power in East Prairie at all," Jones said. "Power crews are working everywhere and they're doing the best they can. It's just going to be a long, drawn-out thing," Jones said.

He predicted it would be a few days before power is restored in East Prairie. "In rural areas, it's going to be a long time," Jones said.

Things are "not good" in New Madrid County, according to Sheriff Terry Stevens. "Easily 90 percent of the county is still without power. It may be closer to 95 percent. The county's primary roads are starting to clear but the secondary roads are still snow and ice covered."

Stevens said parts of the courthouse were open Thursday and providing what services they could.

"Here at the Sheriff's Department we run off a generator and are offering all services as normal," he said.

While some areas of New Madrid had power at noon Thursday, crews were working to "restore power to residences as quickly as possible," officials said.

Currently some parts of the west side of town have power including the area around Dollar General and a corridor along Main Street. City crews were working on the north side of town, including the area around the New Madrid Elementary School, the area around Ramey's Supermarket, St. Jude's Subdivision and Blades Drive. Primary service work will then begin on the southside, according to the news release.

Working with the city utility workers are four crews from M&M Tree Service. City leaders said once power was restored, the tree service crews will begin on cleanup. The city will use the same cleanup plan it used last fall where residents placed their debris next to the road and it was removed by city crews as time became available.

"We're just trying to make due with what we've got," said Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner for Scott County. "We're keeping 911 manned, keeping gas to generators, trying to respond to calls."

Officials noted the communications center in Benton did not have power restored as of Thursday. There is a generator to power the repeater but staff were working without heat.

Burger said the county highway department is out trying to blade roads and trim tree limbs and otherwise clear roads.

"It's overwhelming," he said.

Kelso and areas north of Kelso have power, according to Burger.

In Benton, "there's probably about 10 homes that have power but the rest are without," Burger said. "The courthouse has been closed for the last three days and it doesn't look good for today."

Burger said commissioners have long had concerns about this area's preparedness for a natural disaster.

"This may enlighten everyone to get at least somewhat prepared," he said.

Officials continue to urge the public to stay off roadways if possible due to continued icy roads and downed power lines.

The city of Sikeston has established a citywide curfew from 10 p.m. till 6 a.m. restricting all travel other than for emergencies.

"Make sure that electronics are unplugged because if power comes back up it might blow them," advised Carl Rose, a dispatcher for the Sikeston Department of Public Safety.

With low lines and icy limbs, drivers created their own roadways.
"Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly," added Scott County's Burger.