Potential winter weather leaves crews with short turnaround to prepare

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:23 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Crews across the Natural State are working around the clock to recover from recent snowfall and prepare for the potential of more winter weather in the forecast.

Thousands of hours have been spent cleaning up the winter weather this week.

Next week, a chance for winter precipitation returns, and it’s a race to prepare.

Brad Smithee, ArDOT District 10 Engineer, said his crews will be making plans soon regarding next week’s system.

“Had good luck with our equipment. We didn’t have a lot of fatigue or mechanical problems,” said Smithee. “We feel like we’re in very good shape for this next opportunity next week.”

Material-wise, Smithee and District 5 Engineer Bruce Street said they’re holding pretty well.

“We didn’t have to use a lot of it during this last event. The temperatures held to above freezing for the most part,” Street explained. “We did not consume as much salt as you normally would if the temperatures had dropped below freezing. We’re okay with salt. We do have additional salt on order.”

Electric Co-ops, especially North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, caught the wrath of Tuesday’s storm.

CEO Mel Coleman said his warehouses remain full of supplies.

“Our supplies are holding out. We talked the other day about supply chain; we keep a lot of inventory here on hand just for this instance,” Coleman said. “Had this of been similar to what happened in ‘09, we’d be scurrying to get poles.”

For the Craighead Electric Cooperative, they said their supplies are full as well.

“Thankfully, we are not having any supply chain issues,” Hook explained. “We’ve kept an eye on it knowing the winter was coming, but we’re hoping this next round misses us.”

Many factors are playing into next week’s forecast that could change. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.