Wintry storm smacks Ark.; power out, roads slick
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Freezing rain, sleet and snow brought tens of thousands of power outages to Arkansas but forecasters lifted an ice storm warning for much of central Arkansas as the storm progressed.
The National Weather Service on Friday shifted to a winter storm warning for a large section of the central part of the state.
Still, forecasters said a mix of sleet and freezing rain was expected to fall through 6 p.m., with ice accumulations of between one-tenth and a quarter of an inch.
State highway officials warned that snow and slush is covering many north Arkansas roads, with sleet making roads slick in the central and northeastern sections of the state.
Utility companies report more than 35,000 customers are without power across Arkansas.
Ark. St. officials consider partnership for hotel
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - The chancellor of Arkansas State University says ASU will consider a public-private partnership to develop a hotel and conference center on the Jonesboro campus.
Chancellor Tim Hudson said in a news release Friday that ASU is evaluating proposals from two hotel development firms. The firms are identified as Wallace Bajjali (bu-JAH'-lee) Development Partners LP of Sugar Land, Texas, and Jonesboro Hotel and Convention Center LLC that is headed by an Effington, Ill., family.
Both proposals call for a hotel with at least 150 rooms and a conference center, and both say they support classroom spaces and internships for a hospitality management program being considered by ASU.
Hudson says ASU prefers the facility be built near the football stadium and the Convocation Center on the northeast corner of campus.
WINTER STORM-ARKANSAS-POWER OUTAGES
More than 35,000 without power in Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Electric utilities in Arkansas are reporting that more than 35,000 customers are without power and officials expect continuing wintry conditions to cause more damage.
Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark had 15,300 customers in the dark at mid-morning Friday, with freezing rain and sleet continuing to fall.
Entergy Arkansas, the state's largest electric utility, reported 10,300 outages. More than 6,000 of those outages were in Pope County.
Entergy has 1,400 customers out in Craighead County and another 1,000 in Mississippi County.
In western Arkansas, Southwest Electric Power Co. reported 9,800 outages, down from 12,000 earlier in the day. The majority of those outages are in Polk and Sebastian counties.
Before the foul weather struck, Entergy warned customers that some could be without power for up to a week.
Ark. highway officials report snowy, icy roadways
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway officials say roads are covered in ice, sleet, snow and slush across the state.
Authorities reported a number of fallen trees and accidents as a winter storm trudged through Arkansas on Friday.
Highway officials reported snowy roads in much of northwest Arkansas, while sleet covered highways in central and northeast Arkansas.
Wintery weather that began on Thursday was forecast to bring an ice storm to much of the state on Friday, making highways treacherous.
Arkansas highway department spokesman Randy Ort says he expects the most frequent problems to occur on bridges and overpasses, which freeze more easily than surface roads.
WINTER STORM-ARKANSAS-CAPITOL LIGHTING
Ark. Capitol lighting ceremony canceled over storm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Officials have canceled the holiday lighting ceremony at the Arkansas state Capitol because of the wintry weather.
Secretary of State Mark Martin's office said Friday that they will still turn on the Christmas lights at the Capitol this weekend, but the office says there won't be a lighting ceremony.
Martin's office says the annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony, which was to be held in conjunction with the Capitol lighting, has also been cancelled.
The National Weather Service has issued ice and winter storm warnings for much of Arkansas.
Man dies on Arkansas road during freezing rain
VIOLET HILL, Ark. (AP) - An Izard County man died in a single-vehicle crash and Arkansas State Police say icy conditions may have contributed to the accident.
Officials say 75-year-old Paul Zerby of Violet Hill died at about noon Thursday when he ran off the west side of Spring Hill Road and hit a tree.
State police say Zerby was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash report says freezing rain was falling at the time of the accident and that the road was icy.
State police spokesman Bill Sadler says there are also indications that Zerby may have had a medical problem. The investigative report on the accident is still being compiled.
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