Entergy Arkansas crews and contractors numbering some 1,600 were working to restore power to more than 27,000 customers across the state yesterday morning, due to outages caused by freezing rain and winds. The number of outages will fluctuate and likely increase as the storm continues to bring additional precipitation. An additional 500 people have been requested outside the state to help restoration efforts, including transmission and distribution line workers, damage assessors, management, and vegetation crews.
Ice accumulations of one-quarter to one-half inch have been reported in some areas, with more expected throughout the day. Initial scouting reports indicate numerous poles and power lines are down or broken across the state. Customers are advised to keep their distance, as downed lines could still be energized and deadly.
Continuing freezing rain and wind can hamper efforts, along with wet and icy roads that can make travel hazardous for crews. Despite the conditions, scouting and assessment teams continue working to assess damages, and distribution and transmission crews are making repairs and restoring power where possible, with additional teams enroute to the most impacted areas. Teams will continue to work throughout the day to remove debris where necessary and initiate the safe restoration of power.
Although Entergy Arkansas manages growth of trees and bushes near electrical equipment, one half-inch of ice can increase the weight of a tree limb as much as 30 times, causing even smaller limbs to bend or snap, falling onto power lines and causing an outage. Wind coupled with freezing rain can also initiate galloping lines, which is the slow, “skipping rope” motion of power lines, which can create contact between lines and thereby cause outages.