35,000 still without power in Memphis area - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

35,000 still without power in Memphis area

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Light, Gas and Water reported some 35,000 customers were still without power early Monday afternoon.

MLGW spokesperson Chris Stanley said it could be Friday before power is fully restored to all customers.

He said crews are working around the clock, and the utility company has brought in additional crews from Nashville and Chattanooga to assist them.

Many customers say they're frustrated with MLGW's automated phone message system used for reporting outages. The company says the system is designed only for use during normal circumstances and smaller outages. They say they're working to reprogram it.

Strong storms swept through the Mid-South Friday, initially leaving tens of thousands of people without power. Heavy rain and high winds caused trees and power lines to fall, damaging dozens of homes and vehicles.

The Memphis area came under a tornado warning late Friday afternoon. Golfball-size hail was reported and rainfall total was estimated at 1 inch and more in some places.

Employees at some businesses took cover as warning sirens sounded and winds gusted at up to 70 mph.

Huge trees fell in city parks, crushed homes and vehicles and obstructed busy roads and highways throughout Shelby County.

Memphis police reported a 40-year-old man was hospitalized in serious condition after being hit on the head and back by a falling tree Downtown.

Trees also took out the top floor of a Midtown home, briefly trapping a young man who was asleep in a bedroom, and a gas line was cut when a tree fell on another Midtown home.

Customers at the Summer Grocery Store became briefly trapped when a massive oak tumbled onto the roof.

An auto dealership and a Wendy's restaurant on Covington Pike sustained damage, as well.

Memphis police spokeswoman Det. Monique Martin said officers worked 32 vehicle crashes, but none involved major injuries and no fatalities were reported.

The storms shut down the St. Jude golf tournament Friday, where several concession stands were tossed into the TPC Southwind course. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major property damage.

Storms also swept through Northern Mississippi. The National Weather Service confirmed an F2 tornado touched down in Olive Branch, destroying homes and businesses.

Entergy said Friday night that more than 28,000 customers in the state, mostly in Southaven and Senatobia, were initially without power.

Fallen trees were also reported in nearby Eastern Arkansas, where about 20,000 customers lost power after the storms.

MLGW customers who need to report an emergency or downed power line should call (901) 528-4465. To report an outage, call (901) 544-6500.

If you have pictures or video of severe weather you'd like to share with Action News 5, e-mail them to my5@wmctv.com  

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The AP contributed to this story.

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