Downpour douses downtown

By Staff
WATER RESCUE – Meridian firefighters Andy Murray, left, Robby Gilmer and Kerry Myers rush to help a stranded motorist Monday on 65th Avenue next to Structural Steel Services Inc. A sudden, severe thunderstorm left some streets impassable. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
June 29, 2004
Motorists were rescued from cars and some businesses inundated Monday as a severe thunderstorm dumped rain on Meridian for about two hours, flooding streets and forcing drainage canals out of their banks.
The early evening flash floods were part of a weather pattern that forecasters said is more typical in the spring. They said Meridian, Lauderdale County and East Mississippi can expect more rain this week.
Butler said some of the worst street flooding happened along Front Street, Highway 19 and on 14th Street at the Ninth Avenue and 24th Avenue intersections. There, he said, swift-moving water covered the streets.
Tracy Tucker, battalion chief for the Meridian Fire Department, said firefighters were busy rescuing motorists who found themselves stranded in rising flood waters. He said firefighters blocked flooded streets.
Most of the problems happened between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., he said. Meridian "had such a tremendous amount of water in a short period of time that the system couldn't handle it," he said.
Jim Butch, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said rain gauges at Key Field show that Meridian received 1.66 inches of rain for the 24-hour period ending midnight Monday.
He blamed the unusually wet weather on upper level wind patterns that are more typical in spring than summer. Because of that, he said, residents can expect the threat of rain to remain.
While the rain may not be as widespread as it has been, Butch said, "certainly as we heat up during the day time they can develop anywhere."

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