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Power restored in tornado-torn cities, but lack of buses keep schools closed

HATTIESBURG — Mississippi Power has completed initial storm restoration to the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal following Sunday’s tornado.

As of 10 a.m. yesterday, The Hattiesburg American reports crews restored power to those customers able to receive it.

Mississippi Power Pine Belt Division Manager Jason Lee says more than 300 additional support personnel, including linemen, engineers and tree crews, were called to action to expedite the restoration process. The extensive damage included nearly 100 broken power poles as a result of the severe weather.

Lee says crews are now inspecting the system for any additional damage or weakened areas caused by the continuing inclement weather conditions.

However, the Hattiesburg Public School District remains closed because it has no way to transport its 4,500 students.

The Hattiesburg American reports 25 of the district’s 27 school buses were damaged by Sunday’s tornado which hit Forrest and Lamar counties.

Hattiesburg Public School District Superintendent James Bacchus said the district needs at least 15 to 20 more buses to run our routes. He says Forrest County School District has loaned the system five buses and Greene County is sending four buses.

Bacchus said if the district can get the additional buses, he hopes to reopen school on Thursday.

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