Power outage continues; warming centers open
In the aftermath of the winter storm that struck Christmas day, thousands of Saline County residents still do not have electricity in their homes.
According to reports from Entergy Arkansas, 13,919 customers in Saline County are still without power, as of 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
That number is down from 16,220 at the peak of the crisis. Nearly 4,000 workers are joining Entergy efforts to restore electricity around the state, according to the Entergy website.
Entergy/Benton Utilities customers may report an outage by calling 501-776-5931 or 1-800-9OUTAGE.
First Electric Cooperative is reporting 20,000 of its customers throughout the state still without power. There is not data available separated by county. The number is down from 30,000 Wednesday. Additional crews are being brought in tomorrow to aid in the restoration effort, according to the website. Based on the information available, First Electric estimates all members will be able to receive electricity by Friday night.
Members may report an outage by calling 888-827-3322 or the cooperative’s main line at 800-489-7405.
Northside Church of Christ in Benton is opening its doors as a warming station. Those interested may call 501-315-1128. The church is located at 917 N. East St.
The Center at Bishop Park in Bryant is also open as a warming station. Those interested may call 501-258-6161. The center is located at 6401 Boone Rd.
The Saline County Road Department is reporting that roads are "a lot better" today. "The main roads look real good, and it's supposed to get up to 40 degrees today," said Marty Polk, assistant road superintendent.
The powerful winter storm that hit the county Tuesday brought high winds and freezing rain and sleet, topped with several inches of snow.
This marked the first Christmas Day snowfall in Central Arkansas since 1926, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.
The weather service reported late Tuesday that a foot of snow had fallen in the southwestern Arkansas town of Vandervoort.
A blizzard warning was in place in northeast Arkansas for much of the day Tuesday.
The storms were part of an enormous system that tore through the middle of the United States, bringing similar icy conditions and also tornadoes in some areas.
Tornadoes this time of year are not unheard of, according to the AP. The most lethal were the storms of Dec. 24-26, 1982, when 29 tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi killed three people and injured 32.