Governor Mike Beebe spoke to the effects of severe weather on Arkansans in his weekly radio address. Beebe clarified what his statewide emergency declaration means for government’s ability to function.
Sleet, freezing rain and snow fell across Arkansas Friday, leading to slippery and slushy roadways and power outages in many areas. The National Weather Service says temperature will continue to drop and the likelihood for more icy precipitation will linger into the weekend.
“We will see low temperatures [Friday night] in the central Arkansas area between 10 and 17 degrees,” says NWS Meteorologist Jeff Hood.
More than 37,000 homes and businesses are without electricity as a wintry storm hits the state.
Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark reported about 12,000 outages Friday morning, while SWEPCO had more than 11,000 outages in northwest Arkansas in Sebastian, Polk, Scott and Logan counties. Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported an additional 2,000 outages in Fort Smith, 1,200 outages in Charleston and more than 1,100 in Lavaca.
Winter weather is expected to cause some problems for commuters as they try to navigate state roadways this weekend. Road crews are readying equipment so they will be prepared to treat icy highways in central Arkansas.
Danny Straessle works with the state highway department. He says a good mixture of sand and salt is on standby to aid de-ice efforts for area bridges and overpasses.
Arkansas highway officials are reporting icy and slushy roads in an area from Mena to Fort Smith to Dover to Hardy.
As a winter storm sliced into the state from the northwest, ice patches were reported on major highways north of Fort Smith to the Missouri line, then across northern Arkansas to Harrison and then down to Jasper and Dover.
Elsewhere in the region, the state highway department reported sleet falling.