Thousands in Region 8 without power as ice storm moves through

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -  Craighead County OEM says electric service to approximately 35,000 to 40,000 home has been interrupted by ice collecting on trees and power lines.

The weight of the ice on the power lines is snapping power poles and cross arms.  Tuesday night, there were approximately 65 broken poles.

The outages are concentrated in Craighead, Greene and Lawrence Counties. Communities in Craighead County include: Bono; Monette; Black Oak; and Brookland. Communities impacted in Green County include: Marmaduke; Lafe; Beech Grove; Oak Grove; Walcott; Stanford; and an area southwest of Paragould Lawrence County areas with large outages include: Walnut Ridge; Hoxie; Black Rock; Lynn; and Strawberry.

"Our crews are working to restore power in these areas as quickly and as safely as possible," said Brian Duncan, president/CEO of Craighead Electric. "Restoration could be prolonged in some areas due to more severe weather forecasted."

With the forecast of additional winter weather and potential extended power outages, Craighead Electric asks that if you or a family member is dependent on electric powered medical equipment, please take steps now to seek alternative shelter or a source of backup power. Consumers are asked to call the Craighead Electric outage number at 1-888-771-7772 to report any downed power lines or trees on power lines.

"Our goal is to restore power safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible," said Duncan. "We will not jeopardize the safety of the storm team or the public."

According to Duncan, primary lines serving hundreds of customers are serviced first, and then the secondary lines serving fewer members are serviced.

The utility says outages are increasing rapidly as the ice storm continues to pound the northern part of the state.

Entergy currently has about 1,000 workers either in the state or on the way from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.