Ruptured Gas Line Forces Hundreds to Evacuate; Mississippi’s Torrential Rains May Be To Blame

Photo at ground zero of a large gas leak on Yazoo County that caused evacuations in the village of Sartartia. Source: Yazoo County EMA.

By Ron Brackett for The Weather Channel

A ruptured gas line forced more than 300 people from their homes and sent nearly four dozen to the hospital overnight in Yazoo County, Mississippi.

Emergency management officials said the rupture could be related to recent downpours in Mississippi. Saturated ground caved into a ravine and damaged the 24-inch pipe that was carrying carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Residents of Satartia, Mississippi, which is about 33 miles northwest of Jackson, were ordered to evacuate after the pipe broke about 7:30 p.m. Saturday in thick woods near Mississippi Highway 433.

The leak was discovered after residents began noticing a green gas and noxious odor, the Yazoo Herald reported.

Some people developed headaches and dizziness and some passed out, according to the Vicksburg Daily News. First responders went door to door checking on residents. Three non-responsive people were found in a vehicle on a gravel road off Highway 433 just before 10 p.m.

Emergency rooms filled in Yazoo County, and patients were directed to a hospital in neighboring Warren County, the Daily News reported.

All lanes in both directions on Highway 433 and Highway 3 were closed. A shelter was opened at Yazoo County Junior High School in Yazoo City.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes shortly after 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to WLBT. The people taken to hospitals were expected to be ok, according to WLOX.

The pipeline belongs to Denbury Enterprises and is used for oilfield operations. The company shut off the gas when alerted to the rupture.

Mississippi has been inundated with rain in the past few weeks. Jackson has had its wettest start to a year on record through Feb. 22, according to meteorologist Christopher Dolce. Precipitation has totaled 22.85 inches since Jan. 1, which is more than 14 inches above the average to date.

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