CLEVELAND COUNTY, Ark. – This week’s ice storm affected tens of thousands in south Arkansas as many lost power, in Cleveland County many were left in the dark.
Entergy said they have over 2,300 crews working to restore power to their customers who are suffering outages from this week’s ice storm. Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Arkansas says they have 135 crews also trying to restore power.
According to Poweroutage.us in Cleveland County on Thursday evening over 90% of people were without power and on Friday the percentage was slowly dwindling. Both Energy and AECA say their biggest challenge with trying to get to areas and restore power were the ice coated tree branches that fell on power lines and some tree limbs that blocked the road.
However, Matt Ramsey the senior communication specialist with Entergy says they were able to slowly but surely get work down in parts of south Arkansas on Friday.
“Thankfully we have had a lot of warmer weather which has allowed our crews to assess damage a lot quicker, but they are still having to be cautious because as that warmer weather happens the ice is beginning to melt and tree limbs are still falling in the area we are working,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey also says crews are focused on the hardest hit areas first and then go to the rural ones.
“We’re hoping everyone will have their power restored by tomorrow [Saturday],” Ramsey said.
Phyllis Kelly lives in Rison. She says she lost power on Thursday morning after she heard trees popping.
“It was a little surreal. Everything was icy and things were crackling, and I thought the sky was falling,” Kelly said.
Kelly says she was shocked to see the power line poles that fell over in front of her home.
“It was very alarming, living in a heavily wooded area like we do here in Rison you never really know the stability, just seeing them on the ground was alarming,” Kelly said.
As some trees have been coming down and blocking roadways, Rison resident Elizabeth Herrington says her family has been stuck in her house for the past two days.
Herrington says they have a generator, but no power, because it ran out of gas but to their luck their roadways became clear the same day they had to go out and get gas.
“This is the first time we tried because we couldn’t even get out until today until it [trees] started thawing,” Herrington said.
She says she is thankful a nearby gas station had a generator
“We had [filled] two cans of gas already,” Herrington said.
She says the gas will help power their generator and keep their food fresh.
“It’s going to help us with having electricity to keep our freezer and refrigerator charged,” Herrington said.
Kelly also says that she has a generator that helps her family stay warm.
“We have a gas fireplace as well as a generator that we run as well as a little heater, so it helps,” Kelly said.
Both women say that they will be happy when their power is restored, Kelly says her family is trying to keep busy and be patient.