For some, dreaming of a white Christmas this year was anything but a dream but more like a nightmare. Mother Nature conceived a winter storm system across much of Arkansas.
As of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, the winter storm had created power outages for more than 70,000 Arkansas residents. Accumulations of snow, sleet and freezing rain coupled with high winds made road conditions and the restoration process difficult as Entergy Arkansas workers powered their way through the storm front to help restore power for its customers.
“At Entergy, storm preparation is a continuous cycle without a beginning or end. It is through this strategic set of action steps that we are able to respond, restore and safely reconnect our customers' power more quickly and more efficiently after every storm,” commented Charles McGhee, Entergy's customer service manager.
The Helena-West Helena area was hit with a blackout around 5 p.m. Christmas evening. The lights stayed off until just after 11 p.m. No numbers were available as far as Entergy customers in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County were without power.
Statewide, as many as 150,000 customers were without power across Arkansas Tuesday night. An additional 1,000 Entergy workers were requested to help restore power as quickly as possible. Road travel was hazardous and Entergy encouraged everyone to stay safe by remaining inside and reporting any down power lines.
By Wednesday morning, nearly 200,000 of Entergy's customers were without power as the result of icy conditions, stormy weather and high winds that affected the service area. Most outages were reported to be in Arkansas, with about 10,000 reported in Texas.
According to an Associated Press report it could be as late as the first of the year before all power is restored in the state.
“While we expect to get many customers back on sooner, some customers in areas with the heaviest damage should expect an extended outage of up to seven days,” reported McGhee.
Road conditions in some areas of the state made travel very dangerous and slow as Entergy workers attempted to get to the sites of the power outages. The threat of falling trees and tree limbs also posed a substantial risk to Entergy crews.
McGhee assured everyone that Entergy was working diligently to restore power as quickly as safely as possible.