UPDATE: Crews tackle widespread outages after strong storms

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Electric providers across north Arkansashave crews out Saturday morning restoring power in areas hit by Thursday andFriday’s storms. Strong, sustained, straight line winds brought down trees,limbs, power lines, and damaged many roof tops.

Craighead Electric Cooperative Saturday reported about 1,000customers without power in Craighead, Greene, Lawrence, and Poinsett Countieswith sporadic outages in Independence, Sharp and Randolph Counties. The windbroke approximately 50 poles, most of which are in the Bono, north CraigheadCounty, Lynn, Black Rock, Lunsford and Trumann areas.

In an update Saturday morning, Jonesboro City Water and Light hopesto have everyone back online by Sunday morning unless more storms damagedtransmission lines. CWL will have crews working today on North Culberhouse,Duncan Road, Metzler, Wilkins, Chickasaw, North Church, East Commerce,neighborhood west of ASU, and on transmission lines in west and northJonesboro. CWL has crews from Conway, West Memphis, Paragould, Kennett and other contractors.

Entergy Arkansas reported widespread outages across the stateSaturday morning. Crews are working to restore power after damagingthunderstorms moved through central and eastern Arkansas Friday. Over 600 customersare without power in Independence County alone where a possible tornado damagedbusinesses and homes in the northern areas of Batesville Friday.

As crews repair damage, stay away from low hanging power lines.Check all equipment and appliances now and after your electricity is restoredfor any signs of damage.

Bono residents who witnessed the storm coming in will tell you thesame story.

"We were outside and it got real dark," Braydon Jonessaid. "Then rain just poured."

"It got real dark," Loretta Cline told Region 8 News."Then it started to rain real hard."

The Jones' and Cline told Region 8 News that it didn't take longafter that for the power to go out. More than 24 hours later, many are still"offline".

"No electricity," Brandon Jones said. "NoX-Box," Braydon added. "But, all the food, we just went groceryshopping. All of it's gone."

"Since it wasn't real hot, it wasn't that bad in the house,but it's just bad because all you food in your refrigerator is going towaste," Cline told Region 8 News.

They aren't the only Entergy residents in the dark though.

"All the way from Batesville to Blytheville almost,"David Burnette with Entergy Arkansas told Region 8 News Wednesday afternoon. 

Nearly everywhere in between was affected as well. Burnette canequate the extent of the damage to one thing. "Almost like an ice stormdamage."

Burnette said customer outages peaked at nearly 20,000 and eventhough they got roughly 10,000 back online, Thursday's round of storms couldhave knocked some back off.

"Anytime the severe weather does move in on top of arestoration, it slows you down," Burnette explained. "We're limitedas to what we can do in certain velocities of wind, we can't have our trucks inthe air under high wind and so forth."

In an effort to bring power to as many people as possible,vegetation crews are helping out and contractors are coming into the state toassist as well.

For those in Bono without power, they were making the best of it.

Cline told Region 8 News she found a way to keep her food fromgoing to waste.

"I'm taking it down to the church so they can put it in oneof their freezers down there and if someone needs it down there, maybe they canuse it."

The Jones', who were just grateful their dogs made it through thestorm okay, were beginning the clean-up process.

"I'm trying to get all the limbs picked up and the rubbagepicked up and checking on neighbors and making sure they don't need anyhelp," Brandon Jones said.

To report a power outage:

 Entergy: 1-800-9-OUTAGE.

Craighead Electric: 1-888-771-7772

Jonesboro CWL: 870-930-3300

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