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Arkansans helping storm victims

Approximately 140 Entergy personnel from Arkansas are headed east to help in areas hit hard by Friday's storms.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - About 140 Entergy Arkansas workers departed Saturday morning from Entergy service centers across the state to assist in power restoration following violent storms in the Eastern part of the United States.

The Arkansas workers are part of a group of lineman, tree trimmers, safety coordinators, support personnel and contractors from Entergy Arkansas, Entergy Mississippi, Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Texas. The Arkansas crews will spend the night near Nashville, Tennessee, then drive Sunday to their assigned locations.

Workers will plan to be deployed on restoration for a week, leaving enough personnel in the state to manage the needs of Arkansas customers.

“We always help our neighbors in trouble when we can,” said Larry Shields, Operations Manager for Entergy Arkansas, Inc. “With nearly two million customers without power during the middle of a heat wave, we must focus on restoring power as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Violent storms swept across the eastern U.S., killing at least nine people and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands on a day that temperatures across the region are expected to reach triple-digits.

The Mid-Atlantic region had already been experiencing 100-degree temperatures before Friday evening's violent storms. Thousands are without power - and without air conditioning - as crews work to clear downed tree limbs and restore electricity.

The storms were blamed for the deaths of six people in Virginia; two in New Jersey; and another in Maryland.

More than 2 million power outages were reported from Indiana to New Jersey, with the bulk of the service interruptions concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic region. Earlier Friday, the nation's capital reached 104 degrees - topping a record of 101 set in 1934.

On Saturday, temperatures were expected to reach 100 degrees again - and another round of storms also was possible. The National Weather Service warned the heat index could reach 110 degrees.

The heat left people such as the elderly vulnerable. In Charleston, W.Va., firefighters helped several residents of an apartment building, some using wheelchairs or walkers, move to a shelter. Fire Capt. Chris Campbell said the evacuation was voluntary and was the only one since the storm hit. But he expected more.

In addition to the heat, officials say cell phone coverage is spotty. Many residents were asked to conserve water because sewage stations had been without power for a time. And authorities cautioned people to drive carefully because tree limbs littered roads and hundreds of traffic signals were out.

No power also meant no way to charge cellphones and laptops, and no Internet access in many areas.


Kim Molisee, sat frustrated in her car outside the normally bustling but now darkened All-Star Express convenience store in Reedsville, W.Va., just down the road from her home. Officials said about 500,000 people were without power in that state.

"I'm almost out of gas, and I can't run around too much trying to find a store that's open where I can get gas and ice," she said.

Molisee and her 13- and 15-year-old sons were at the Walmart in Kingwood when the storm hit and the power failed.

"Me and the boys made a run for it to the car," she said. They made it home safely and suffered no serious damage, "but even after the storm, you could hear the trees falling."

Molisee will be able to cook on her gas-powered stove and even shower because she has a gas water heater. But staying cool is another matter.

"I think I'm gonna get my boys and go to the river," she said.

More than 20 elderly residents at an apartment home in Indianapolis were displaced when the facility lost power due to a downed tree. Most were bused to a Red Cross facility to spend the night, and others who depend on oxygen assistance were given other accommodations, the fire department said.

Those who could afford it flocked to hotels to escape their hot, powerless homes. Others planned to spend the day at places like shopping malls in an effort to stay cool.

Jose Amaya, 41, of Germantown, Md., was also without power on Saturday. He said his wife and two daughters planned to the mall to stay cool and he joked that the outage was going to "cost him" because they would be shopping. His wife, who works for a hotel chain, also planned to get the family a room to stay.

Jose Amaya, 41, of Germantown, Md., was also without power on Saturday. He said his wife and two daughters planned to go to the mall to stay cool, and he joked that the outage was going to "cost him" because they would be shopping. His wife, who works for a hotel chain, also planned to get the family a room to stay.

Robert Clements, 28, said he showered by flashlight on Friday night after power went out at his home in Fairfax, Va. The apartment complex where he lives told his fiancé that power wouldn't be back on for at least two days, and she booked a hotel on Saturday.

Clements' fiance, 27-year-old Ann Marie Tropiano, said she tried to go to the pool, but it was closed because there was no electricity so the pumps weren't working. She figured the electricity would eventually come back on, but she awoke to find her thermostat reading 81 degrees and slowly climbing. Closing the blinds and curtains didn't help.

"It feels like an oven," she said. "It is hot."

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