Arkansas weather has not been kind, as rain on Friday washed away the remains of a snow storm that left nearly 200,000 customers without power. Even businesses relying on power to generate post-holiday sales have suffered.
Entergy Arkansas said about 40 percent of its repairs had been completed by Friday, but nearly 100,000 were still without electricity. Repair rates have slowed, the utility said, because crews are entering areas with more significant damage.
Many in Little Rock, Hot Springs and Malvern won’t have their lights and heat back until Tuesday or later. The forecast for Little Rock for Friday night calls for a chilly 26 degrees, with a chance of freezing rain.
Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, said another 1,000 linemen and support workers were coming from out of state, meaning a total of 5,000 utility workers would be working on it by Saturday, says the Associated Press.
“Clearly we’d like to be farther along.”
Little Rock, whose initial prediction was 3-6 inches of snow, ended up with 10.3 inches, alongside a coating of freezing rain and followed by gusty winds that tore down trees, power lines and utility poles, making for a larger mess than was expected.
The Arkansas outages are hurting area businesses, said Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jay Chesshir. People are taking care of their homes and trying to stay warm, not going out shopping — not that they could at closed businesses. Clearly there are bigger issues on the plate for the moment, Jay.
“This time of year with folks … looking for retail opportunities during a time of year when many things go on sale, it will be difficult to make up completely but it certainly can be lessened when the power returns and people are in the mood to buy.”
Business will be booming soon enough, after the repairs are finished enough to allow it, I’m sure.
People are making do without power and they’re quite creative about it, according to the Huffington Post.
Lynda Johnson, who lined up a series of hotel stays to make it at least through Saturday night, said:
“I’m coping with hot toddies and peanuts.”
Deena Brazell, who spent the night in her car to stay warm, said:
“Everything in the apartment is electric. I stayed in the apartment the first night. After that, it got cold really quick. I went out to charge the phone and fell asleep, then I just decided to stay.”
Here’s hoping the people of Arkansas will experience a swift recovery after this natural disaster.