Reports from the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation show many roads became ice-covered and impassable across the state. Both state and local authorities were investigating a number of weather-related accidents. Hazardous driving conditions remained throughout Friday evening and Saturday morning, though sunshine was improving the situation rapidly, especially on the major thoroughfares, according to reports.
The sub-freezing temperatures that are predicted over the next few days are not expected to allow for much improvement on the less-traveled roads, so authorities are requesting that drivers continue to exercise caution as they travel.
Governor Mike Beebe declared a statewide emergency Thursday afternoon. County judges in at least 11 counties made emergency declarations to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management including: Crawford, Faulkner, Franklin, Johnson, Newton, Saline, Scott, Polk, Pope, Pulaski and Van Buren. According to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, various shelters are open across the state and are being operated by local governments and local churches as well as the American Red Cross.
One death has been directly attributed to the weather. That came in Pope County when an ice-laden tree limb fell on the sleeping area of a camper killing a 62-year-old man. That happened approximately five miles north of Dover. At least one other fatality may prove to be directly related to the weather, though an investigation was continuing according to Arkansas State Police.
In addition, homes and some businesses around the state reported various damages, the majority caused by falling trees, limbs and power lines.