(Tunica, MS) Bill Canter knew he had trouble coming the minute Sunday’s rain turned to sleet and ice.
”It got kinda windy and it got very cold. You could hear the limbs breaking as the ice started forming on some of the trees.”
Then the power went out.
He and more than 3,800 of his friends and neighbors got left in the dark and cold as dawn broke Monday morning.
A line of downed power poles in Robinsonville shows why.
Entergy line crews lined up to attack the blackout.
”There’s four circuits that come out of this substation. Three of ‘em are down. We’ve got a total of forty poles down.”
Trees aren’t the only thing that snap in an ice storm.
When you have ice that’s thick, and high winds, it doesn’t take much to topple one good power pole.
Once that happens, the others fall like dominoes.
And fall, they did, taking the electricity for just about the entire county with them.
Getting the lights back on with 40 poles to replace takes time.
”It’s just brutal, you know. The guys get out here in the cold and in the buckets, and that’s gonna be the time consuming part.”
Entergy hoped to have everybody back on by late Tuesday, but most of the town of Tunica got its power back Monday afternoon.
Bill Canter says he heard generators power up and the electricity went down, and found neighbors sharing with neighbors.
”I started seeing people that had power or gas inviting friends over, come over for coffee, come over and eat with us, to do this…”
While his fireplace kept him warm, he’s glad to know the warmth of his neighbors would keep him and others from freezing in this ice storm.
Casinos fired up backup generators. Most were fully functioning, or operated on a slightly limited basis.
We checked with all of them, a couple reported issues with heat in their hotels, but casino operations continued as usual.