Looking back at the ice storm two years later - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Looking back at the ice storm two years later

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By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Two years ago today a winter storm left much of Arkansas and Missouri covered in a thick layer of ice, including trees and power lines. The ice snapped power lines and poles leaving hundreds of thousands in the dark and the cold.

Freezing rain started falling on January 26, 2009 and continued through most of January 27.

By the time it stopped, one to two inches of ice had collected on power lines and trees.

Monty Williams with Craighead Electric Cooperative said, "I just said oh man...laughing. It's one of those scenes where it was pretty but once you see all the poles broke and the power outages and stuff, it just gave you a sickening feeling."

Craighead Electric has roughly 28,000 customers and 25,000 were without power during the height of the storm.

"All the residential were back on in 25 days, which it was several weeks and months after that to get the grain bins and irrigation wells back on boat," said Williams.

The total cost for Craighead Electric was roughly 45 million dollars, but they received help from FEMA.

Williams said they just recently finished getting everything back in order.

"But the whole thing back to the way it originally was, I never thought it would take two years. It just takes a long time to go over the whole system like that," said Williams.

He said they are always prepared for whatever mother nature brings, but looking back on this historic ice storm they learned quite a bit.  

Williams said, "We kind of know who to call and what contractors to get in here and we know to go out and look at the damage and see what we have out there."

But in a major event like this, there's more to just getting the power back on to the customers. You have to think about the crews that have come from out of state to help.

"What are you going to do with all the dirty laundry? Feeding them every day, every morning and every night. I mean there's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that most people forget about," said Williams.

As for the rest of this winter, Williams is hoping for the best.

"If we have any precipitation I hope it's snow and the ice stays away from us for a long time," said Williams.

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