TUPELO • The remnants of a tropical storm moved through the region Saturday, damaging structures, downing trees and limbs, causing widespread power outages and sending a local public official to the hospital.

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton was trapped in his Briar Ridge Road home on Saturday for about 1 1/2 hours by a large fallen tree before emergency responders successfully extricated him.

He was carried from the home on a stretcher about 1:30 p.m. and taken to North Mississippi Medical Center’s emergency room “for observation,” according to city spokesperson Lucia Randle.

As of early evening Saturday, Randle said Shelton was “doing well” but had no further details about the second-term mayor’s condition.

Shelton’s wife was also in the home but was uninjured, Randle said.

Damage was widespread. Falling trees and limbs closed roads and downed power lines, plunging many in Northeast Mississippi into the dark.

The Tombigbee Electric Power Association reported Saturday that 19,000 of its customers were out of power at the height of the outages.

The association said crews would work throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning to restore power.

Shelton’s East Tupelo home was the not the only damaged in the area.

A tree fell on a home on Jefferson Street, near the downtown area. The homeowners were out of town at the time and heard about the damage through messages and photos from friends.

Neighbor Celina Waddell said she heard the tree fall around noon.

“I heard that thing pop, and we didn’t know what it was,” Waddell said. “We were scared to go out because the wind was too strong.”

She had to pull big tree limbs from her own backyard, but said her house was not hit. Homeowners Cavett and Elise Otis returned around 1:45 p.m. and inspected the damage to their Jefferson Street residence.

The tree was pulled up by the roots and leaning on the top of the house, but the homeowners were still able to enter the house.

“It’s overwhelming right now and a little shocking,” Cavett Otis said. “We have been here 26 years and this is the first time something really bad has happened to us. We’re just glad we were not home.”

The former Tupelo Automobile Museum building also saw damage. Museum representative Kristin Buse said the outer wall of the storage portion of the museum was ripped down by wind.

“It’s not the whole building, it’s just a piece of this storage room so it’s not too bad,” Buse said. “It looks like the wind just grabbed it right and it just pulled it.”

Portions of the wall material could be found scattered across the front of the museum and in parts of the road. Across the road, portions of black fencing around BancorpSouth Arena appeared to have also been pulled down by wind.

A fire station and a car dealership in the South Gloster Street area in Tupelo were also damaged.

In neighboring Union County, a large tree fell through the upstairs bedroom of Jan Musgrove’s house in Blue Springs.

“I don’t even know what to do,” Musgrove said. “I’m kind of in shock.”

No one but her dog, Elly, was home when the tree fell on the house, and the dog was not hurt.

Despite the fact that her home was seriously damaged, Musgrove was still smiling.

“God is good all the time,” Musgrove said. “He protected us. We were not home.”

She has lived in the house for 31 years.

A tree also crashed into the back porch area of Malcom Leath’s house on State Highway 178 in Blue Springs. Leath was home when the tree crashed into his house, but he was uninjured.

The storm kept local officials busy throughout the day to keep roads clear.

“We’re working on it right and left,” Lee County Road Manager Tim Allred said Saturday afternoon.

As of Saturday evening, multiple roads in Tupelo remained closed by storm debris or downed power lines.

The Tupelo Public Works Department released a statement indicating that crews will work across the following days to make sure that all roadways are clear.

“Lot of trees down, different places,” said Tupelo City Councilman Buddy Palmer, of Ward 5 in East Tupelo.

The Tupelo City Council will convene 9:45 Sunday morning for a briefing on the aftermath of the storm.

The remains of Tropical Storm Olga moved across Mississippi and Alabama Saturday after traveling through Louisiana and causing damage there as well.

Josh Mitchell, of the New Albany Gazette, contributed to this report.


Twitter: @Danny_McArthur_

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