Friday, March 31, 2023

Oxford, Lafayette Sign Local Emergency Proclamations for March 3rd Wind Damage

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

A tree knocked down power lines on Shelia Drive on March 3. Photo provided by Sandy Miller Smith

Oxford and Lafayette County leaders have both signed proclamations declaring a local emergency due to the high winds on March 3.

According to Oxford Emergency Management Director Shane Fortner, Oxford tied for having the second highest wind gusts in Mississippi, with gusts reaching 55 mph.

The winds came in after the area had received almost 4 inches of rain over the previous two days, saturating the ground which made it easier for the winds to topple trees.

“We had trees across roadways, powerlines down and we even had one tree fall into a house,” Fortner said Tuesday during the regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

Last week, Lafayette County Emergency Management reported several trees were knocked down during the March 3 storms that caused more than 7,000 people to be without power – some for almost 12 hours.

By proclaiming the local emergency, it allows local governments to apply for emergency funds that go toward repairing infrastructure like roads and powerlines and recoup funds spent to pay overtime to emergency responders, road crews and other employees who responded to help clear roads.

The Board of Supervisors approved their proclamation during their regular meeting on Monday.

Fortner said the city continues to work with Environmental Services with post-wind cleanup efforts.