Crews get power restored to most areas


LITTLE ROCK — Entergy Arkansas expected to have power restored to nearly all of its Arkansas customers by New Year’s Day, a week after a fierce snowstorm left almost 200,000 customers in the dark.

Less than 7,000 electric customers remained without power at mid-afternoon Monday as thousands of utility workers from around the country worked to provide electricity to some homes that had been without it since Christmas Day.

Workers were concentrating on some of the harder-to-reach areas of west Little Rock, Hot Springs and Malvern, Entergy spokesman David Lewis said.

“I predict what will happen is, we will get nearly everybody on tonight,” Lewis said. “There will probably be a handful that will have to carry over into (Tuesday), but we’ve got a lot of people concentrating on the remaining areas that need it.”

Only vestiges of the storm that dumped ice and more than 15 inches of snow on some parts of the state a week ago remained Monday, after sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s allowed for considerable thawing over the weekend.

Randy Ort, spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, said highways and interstates are clear but crews continued Monday to move snow off some roads.

“Crews have been out clearing any travel lanes, there were some multi-lane roads that didn’t have them all cleared,” Ort said. “We’re just trying to get all the snow and ice off the roadways, including the shoulders, also any downed trees and debris.”

The freezing rain and snow caused some damage to the roadways, but that occurs every winter, Ort said, adding the big problem is the number of road signs and guard rails damaged by cars sliding off the roads.

“Obviously we’re very busy replacing signs,” he said.

Rain and sleet were reported in some areas Monday. Brian Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said temperatures were to reach the mid-40s during the afternoon, with drier and slightly warmer temperatures forecast for the rest of the week.