Progress in restoring electricity, water challenges remain

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Progress is being made to restore electricity across parts of Louisiana and Mississippi that have experienced outages this week as a result of freezing cold temperatures, but challenges remain in getting water services restored.

According to PowerOutage.us, about 38,370 customers were without power in Mississippi as of Sunday morning and roughly 14,840 were without power in Louisiana. Crews have been out in force in recent days to restore power after temperatures plummeted earlier in the week. Rising temperatures across the region are also helping.

Entergy, which provides service to customers in roughly half of Mississippi’s counties, said Friday that it expected most of its customers to regain service by the beginning of next week, the Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday. In a news conference Friday, President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, Haley Fisackerly, also warned customers to slowly ramp up their usage once their electricity comes back so they don’t overload their systems, the newspaper said.

The state’s Department of Health canceled drive-thru coronavirus vaccinations in three counties Sunday – Adams, Lee and Washington – as a result of weather, the department reported on its Twitter feed. They said those appointments are being rescheduled.

Communities in both states are still working to restore water services after the freezing temperatures iced equipment and caused water lines to burst. In the Mississippi capital of Jackson, a boil water advisory is still in effect as officials worked to restore water to city residents after the storm left most of the city with little or no running water last week. City officials Saturday delivered water to elderly and homebound residents in the city of about 161,000 residents.

In a statement posted on the city’s Facebook page Saturday, officials said the pressure, measured as pounds per square inch, needed to reached 90 psi at one location and 80 psi at another but as of Saturday evening was only at 55 psi. The statement said there was no definitive timeline for getting the system back to normal.

“Low and no water pressure is still impacting residents across Jackson but we are continuing to see signs of progress. There is still no definitive timeline for when it will be restored, but crews are continuing to work to get water pressure increased across the system. We are also hopeful that weather improvements will help,” the statement read.

As of Saturday evening, there were 13 water main breaks in the city, the statement read.

Many Louisiana cities have also been hammered with water delivery problems as a result of the icy temperatures.

In southwest Louisiana where residents were still recovering from hurricanes last year, many residents last week were left struggling with no water after pipes burst around the region. The City of Lake Charles said on its Facebook page Sunday that it was continuing to see a return to normal water pressure. The National Guard was slated to distribute bottled water to residents Sunday at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Water distribution sites are also slated for Sunday in Shreveport and more rural areas of Caddo Parish that have also struggled with water problems as a result of the storms.

State officials are also urging residents who were affected by the cold weather this week to fill out a survey so that state and local officials can get an idea of the extent of the damage.

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