Leader Blues

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TOP STORY > >Most homes have power

Leader staff writer

The remains of Hurricane Ike zipped through most of Arkansas late Saturday and was gone by mid-Sunday, but before leaving, those remains spun off five EF-1 tornadoes, dropped more than an inch of rain in the local area and left more than 250,000 people across the state without electricity.

Locally, a couple hundred people were without power according to Entergy, but Barbara Merrick, a spokesman for the utility company, said all power was restored to Sherwood-Jacksonville-Cabot customers by early Tuesday.

Late Tuesday, there were still more than 12,000 Entergy customers without power across the state. Merrick said the hardest hit area was Hot Springs.

Neal Frizzell, with First Electric Cooperative, said the fast-moving storm caused 2.350 power outages, 1,700 in Saline Grant and southeast Pulaski counties and 660 in Cleburne, White and Independence counties.

The utility had everyone back up by late Monday.

“We had very few problems this time in north Pulaski or Lonoke counties,” Frizzell said.

Of those five EF-1 tornadoes, with wind speeds between 86 and 110 miles per hour, one hit a mini storage and other buildings in Cabot, but luckily caused no local injuries.

Jacksonville and Sherwood may not have felt tornadic winds, but did experience wind gusts greater than 40 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm dropped 1.39 inches of rain on the area, unlike Gustav earlier in the month, which dropped almost 11 inches of rain on Jacksonville in the three days it covered the area.

Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim said the city had just a few problems with the Ike remnants.

“We had some downed trees that fell across some power lines and a few roads, but very little flooding,” the mayor said.

For September so far, the area has had almost 12.5 inches of rain. That’s on top of the 12 inches that hit during August making that month the wettest August since 1994.