HOUSTON -- The recent storms which pounded Houston and the rest of Chickasaw County destroyed the newly constructed Houston High School softball building and damaged a number of other buildings in Houston and Okolona, according to Chickasaw County EMA Director Linda Griffin.
Virtually all the damages came from the weight of snow and ice on the structures.
Here’s a partial list, as of Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 23:
--R and R Finance, on North Jackson Street, a section of the building caved in. The company has temporarily relocated to the Radio Shack building across from Pizza Hut.
--Neighbors Building Supply on West Madison Street, awning caved in over equipment to the rear of the building.
--Houston High School softball building, completely caved in.
--Dendy Equipment on West Madison Street, roof partially caved in.
--The MDOT office on West Madison Street in Houston had a metal shed which collapsed with equipment under it.
--First Baptist Church in Houston, carport collapsed on the church van.
--The U. S. Plastics building on Industrial Drive in Houston, roof caved in.
--Valley Foods, West Madison Street, roof damage.
Okolona Public Works Director Richie Cousin said Saturday, Feb. 27, the storms caused damages to several buildings in Okolona.
--A mechanic shop operated by Austin White off Monroe Street. The roof collapsed due to the weight of ice and snow.
--An empty shell building on North Church Street. The collapse was due to the weight of ice and snow.
He said the storms broke one water main and two service lines. All have been repaired, with crews working at night in single digit temperatures to accomplish the repairs, he said Saturday.
The main and lines were underground and broke when frigid temperatures froze the ground and caused it to shift, which can crack iron or PVC pipes.
Cousin said the weather has also caused a lot of street damages and potholes which will have to be repaired.
He also urged all residents to make sure they can locate their water meters and turn them off if need be.
“Some customers who don‘t locate and cut off their meters if need be may have water leaks and not find out until the bills come out,” he said.
The City of Okolona offers once annual adjustment to abnormally high water and sewer bills.
The adjustment applies only to the sewer charges, however. “Whatever goes through the water meter has to be paid for,” Cousin said.
Those with questions should contact the Okolona Water Department at 447-5761.
EMA Director Griffin said she’s still receiving damage assessments, and will probably receive more. Those reports will likely include agricultural structures. “About anyone who had an older flat roof barn will probably have some damage,” she said.
“We’re still in the early stages of gathering information to see if we’ll qualify to get a disaster declaration from these storms,” the EMA director said.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funds can go toward helping pay for repairs to storm-damaged government buildings.