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September ranked second hottest for U.S. and driest for Mississippi

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Photo by Tyto Albatraoz - Imported from 500px (archived version) by the Archive Team. (detail page), CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73619013

September this year tied 2015 as the second hottest in 125 years of record keeping, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Temperatures in the 48 contiguous states averaged 68.5 degrees, 3.7 degrees higher than average.

The hottest year occurred in 1998 but only by one-half of one degree.

The lower 48 broke records in precipitation for the month.

Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida all experienced the driest September on record. In Mississippi, the average precipitation for the month was 0.38 inches, more than 3 inches below normal, which is 3.43 inches, reports WJTV.

While record dry conditions dominated the South and the Ohio Valley, the northern tier of states and southeast Texas had record wet conditions.

Extremes in weather also affected the economy. NCEI counts 10 weather and climate disasters so far this year with losses exceeding $1 billion each. This is the fifth consecutive year with 10 or more billion-dollar weather disasters, which is another record-breaking occurrence.

Crime

Vicksburg PD arrest woman for possession of methamphetamine

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Charlotte Coulter-Hull

Officers with the Vicksburg Police Department arrested a woman on drug charges yesterday.

During a traffic stop near Interstate 20 and Clay Street on Wednesday, Feb. 26, Charlotte Coulter-Hull, 50, of Oak Ridge Road was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.

Hull is scheduled to appear in Vicksburg Municipal Court on Friday, Feb. 28.

Also on Wednesday, officers responded to a shots-fired call in the area of Indiana Avenue and North Frontage Road around 3 p.m. Officers found no evidence of shots fired.

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USACE closed Steele Bayou gates around noon Thursday

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The Steele Bayou Control Structure (photo from USACE)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the gates on the Steele Bayou Control Structure just before noon Thursday.

Drew Smith, chief of the Water Management Section with the Corps, confirmed the information earlier today.

The Mississippi River is projected to crest at 48.1 feet on Sunday, March 1.

On Feb. 26, the Yazoo Backwater was at 95.7 feet, which has 460,000 total acres underwater in Mississippi’s South Delta including 176,000 acres of cropland.

The Backwater is predicted to crest at around 96 feet. At 96 feet, 470,000 total acres will be flooded including 183,000 acres of cropland.

While completing the pumps in the Yazoo Backwater will not completely prevent flooding in the South Delta, it can prevent quite a lot of it. Estimates from the Mississippi Levee Board are that about 154,000 acres could have been saved from floodwaters earlier this month.

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Crime

Statutory rape trial of former Warren County pastor begins Monday

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Troy Anthony Piccaluga

The trial of a former pastor of two Warren County churches is set to begin Monday, March 2, in Warren County Circuit Court.

Troy Anthony Piccaluga, 50, is charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery. The two female victims in the case were between the ages of 14 and 16. An initial report filed by one victim’s parents led to the second victim.

Piccaluga was arrested in March 2018, and the alleged incidents took place from January to March of that year. At the time of his arrest, Piccaluga was Pastor of Eagle Lake United Methodist Church and Redwood United Methodist Church.

The trial is expected to take several days.

A separate civil action was filled in Warren County Circuit Court in recent days.

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