Ice arrives with less buildup than feared


The anticipated wintry blast arrived on schedule Friday morning but with less fury than initially feared.

Trees were coated in a glaze of ice by mid-morning but roadways for the most part were more wet than slick.

Danny Straessle with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department said that District 2, which includes Jefferson County, had few problems.

“It’s been a pretty quiet day in District 2,” Straessle said. “The highways are about 85 to 95 percent clear at this time [3:30 p.m. Friday]. The winter precipitation we had earlier today did slow traffic but compared to other parts of the state there were few problems in Southeast Arkansas.

“Highways in central Arkansas have actually been improving throughout the day because of traffic,” Straessle said. “However the remaining slush will turn to ice with the overnight low temperatures so it will be slippery in spots tomorrow morning.”

Pine Bluff also got off rather easy when it comes to power outages.

“I don’t know of any outages in the Pine Bluff area,” Entergy Arkansas spokeswoman Sally Graham said. “You’ve lucked out in your part of the world. Our biggest problem area is in and around Pope County and the River Valley area where 12,000 outages have occurred.

“We are of course focused on restoring power,” Graham said. “We have prepared for the worst and continue to hope for the best.”

Lt. David Sims with Troop E of the Arkansas State Police said the only accidents that had occurred were minor.

“Several vehicles slid into medians or ditches because of the ice and snow this morning but there were no major accidents and no major injuries,” Sims said around 3 p.m. Friday. “We do anticipate some travel hazards overnight when water on the roadways refreezes. We urge motorists to use caution and be attentive to updates on the weather and road conditions.”

Brian Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, said that while the storm was not as bad as forecast there is more on the way.

“We have a storm system coming in Saturday night and Sunday but we have backed off on expected amounts,” Smith said. “We are looking at a bit of sleet and snow and some freezing rain that will accumulate up to a few hundredths of an inch. The temperatures will not get back above freezing until Monday. We won’t make it into the 40s until the middle of next week. Lows Monday and Tuesday night are expected to be in the mid- to upper teens.”