1 Dead in Ark. After Ike, More than 200K Lose Power

September 15, 2008

The remnants of Hurricane Ike knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in Arkansas and killed one person as storm bands passed through Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The damage spanned a wide area across the state, including a tornado outside of Cabot confirmed by the National Weather Service.

Entergy Arkansas said Sunday that it had a peak of 179,000 customers without power, with the greatest concentrations in Hot Springs and Little Rock. Late Sunday afternoon, 96,000 of those customers had their power restored, leaving 82,750 in need of repairs. Other utilities reported thousands more without power.

The fatality occurred in Fisher in southwest Poinsett County when a tree fell on a mobile home, killing 29-year-old Nathan Glass, authorities said. The Poinsett County Sheriff’s Department said Glass and a friend were preparing to leave the trailer when the tree fell.

Gusts of 40 mph or more were reported in Clark, Garland, Jefferson and Pulaski counties. A 54 mph gust was logged at the airport in Camden, 51 mph in Harrison and 53 mph in Flippin, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds knocked down trees and power lines in Garland, Perry and Saline counties. The weather service said the Lonoke County tornado began about 21/2 miles southwest of Cabot and traveled two-thirds of a mile, according to the weather service. Damage along the track included roof damage to an apartment building, destruction of a self-storage unit, torn up metal buildings and business signs that were knocked down. The twister took down a number of utility poles.

Less than two weeks before, a weakened Hurricane Gustav stalled over Arkansas, dropping tremendous amounts of rain and knocking out electricity to 140,000.

In the Hot Springs area, Entergy had 41,000 outages and 28,000 in Little Rock, though many had been restored by Sunday afternoon. Other areas with large outages include Conway with 18,000, Batesville with 16,000 and Malvern with 12,000. Searcy had 8,000 and Russellville had 6,000.

First Electric Cooperative said Grant, Saline and southeast Pulaski counties had 6,000 outages, with 8,500 out in Cleburne, Independence and White counties.

Southwestern Electric Power Co. said about 7,500 lost power in Benton and Washington counties, while 16,000 Ozarks Electric Cooperative customers lost power, mainly in Washington County.

Entergy says some of the outages are from trees that fell on transmission lines but that there was no structural damage.

Entergy noted the 179,000 outages in its system is more than a quarter of its 684,000 Arkansas customers. During the ice storms in December 2000, Entergy had 230,000 outages.

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