In Mississippi, Louisiana, scramble to restore water supply
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Crews in Mississippi and Louisiana scrambled Friday to repair water main breaks and fill up tanks after freezing temperatures knocked out the water supply to tens of thousands of residents.
In Mississippi’s capital of Jackson, officials set up distribution sites where residents could come and pick up potable water, and long lines of cars quickly formed. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said Thursday almost the entire city of around 161,000 people was without water, and he did not know when service would be restored.
Lisa Thomas, 58, said her steep driveway is a sheet of ice, so it’s hard to get her car out to pick up water. Her 67-year-old husband is on a defibrillator and heart monitor and is running out of his heart medication, but she hasn’t even been able to make it to the pharmacy.
“It would be nice to have some type of answers,” she said. “People are in dire need here. We need urgent help.”
Officials in Mississippi and Louisiana urged people to turn off their faucets to help restore water pressure.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday that the worst of the state’s water outages were in north Louisiana and in the southwest city of Lake Charles, which still was struggling to recover from Hurricane Laura. He said bulk and bottled water deliveries were planned for the hardest hit areas.
The water problems follow a vicious cold spell that hammered Texas and other Southern states and also led to widespread power outages.
More than 180,000 customers in Mississippi and Louisiana were still without power on Friday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
In Shreveport, Louisiana, fire crews were helping fill tankers to provide water at hospitals and dialysis centers, the Shreveport Times reported.
Mayor Adrian Perkins said water had been restored to some parts of the city.
Edwards said he was grateful that warmer weather was forecasted across Louisiana by Saturday afternoon into Sunday.
“I expect that over the next several days, we will make repairs to the water systems and get things functioning as close to normal as possible,” the governor said in a live event with the Washington Post.