Starkville battles outages, fallen trees, frozen power lines and water main break after latest winter storm


STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Starkville city officials were hoping the worst was behind them but Starkville Utilities says Thursday brought the most major issues of the winter storms so far.

Starkville resident Wallace Killcrease woke up to find the tree that used to stand in his front yard lying on the corner of W. Main and Raymond Streets and Starkville Utility crews already on the scene. 

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“I heard chain saws, and when I went to heard chain sales, that sort of gotten my attention.”

Wallace says the entire street was still without power as of 1 p.m. after the tree came down at around 3 in the morning. 

But crews were back on scene to fix that minutes later.

“I don’t have a number but we’ve had hundreds of these called in,” said Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp. “But most of them have been identified with one or two significant trees on circuits that we had.”

 Kemp said Killcrease’s tree fell across one of the primary circuits that feeds the downtown Starkville area. He said another tree also fell on a circuit feeding the Northeast section of the city.

This was all after Kemp’s team started the day responding to a water main break on 182 and Jackson Street. While Kemp says he doesn’t think the weather was main reason for the break, he did say the ice and freezing temperatures made replacing the 10-inch section of pipe more challenging.  

“The weather does add an element to have in any type of emergency restoration,” Kemp said. “If we talk about water you know the conditions out here having to deal with those makes it really hard on some of the employees.”

Starkville Police were out on the roads assisting the utility crews by searching for incidents where trees or power lines had fallen on the road. 

“Officers are out marking fallen wires, trees, anything that could be hazardous, especially as you go to the evening hour,” said Police Chief Mark Ballard.

Ballard said his officers found over 30 events with debris in the road by Thursday afternoon. The city agencies worked together battling the elements to make sure the citizens of Starkville stayed safe and warm.  

“We had some outages associated with ice and tree limbs that have come down but as of right now, most of our customers are back online,” Kemp said.