Power Being Restored to Arkansas after Gustav Leaves State

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Utility crews are hustling to restore electricity across Arkansas today, reconnecting homes and businesses that lost power when the remnants of Hurricane Gustav lashed the state with high winds and nearly a foot of rain.

Entergy Arkansas restored power today to about half of the 95,000 customers who were without electric service a day earlier.

Work advanced slowly because of continued high winds, downed power lines and flooded roads. As of 4 p.m., Entergy Arkansas had nearly 48,000 customers without power.

Meanwhile, the state Health Department says it's keeping busy meeting the medical needs of evacuees from Louisiana who fled the storm.

There are 49 shelters in 24 counties that are housing more than 2,800 evacuees, in addition to the shelter at Fort Chaffee, which has about 2,300 evacuees. The health department says having that many people living together increases the risk of illness.

As Arkansas deals with assisting evacuees, it's also dealing with what's left of Gustav.

Bismarck recorded 11.5 inches of rain through late-morning Thursday and Hot Springs had 11. More than 10 inches fell at Benton, Jacksonville and Moro Bay.

The bulk of the storm drifted northward into Missouri overnight but clouds and showers lingered.

In Pope County, a section of Arkansas 7 was closed because of flood damage. The state Highway and Transportation department said the damaged section is south of Pelsor. That area had sustained damage in flooding earlier this year, officials said.

Also affected by the heavy rainfall was Lake Ouachita State Park, which was closed because of a power outage.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)