Two days after ice and snow brought down trees and power lines across the region, these two light poles hang precariously over Olive Street on Thursday, with barrels blocking the street until damage can be fixed. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)
Rain and low temperatures were predicted Thursday night and Friday for Jefferson County as the effort to restore electricity continued, especially in communities to the northwest of Pine Bluff.
The National Weather Service set the chance of rain Thursday night in Jefferson County at 60 percent with temperatures as low as 33 degrees. On Friday, the chance of rain was predicted at 70 percent with a high of 42 degrees.
Earlier in the day, the Weather Service had predicted that Jefferson County could see freezing rain like much of the northern and central parts of the state Friday, but that prediction was revised to remove the threat of freezing preciptation from the county.
A winter weather advisory was in effect through 11 a.m. Friday for Jefferson and Grant counties, along with most of the northern half of the state.
A weather system was predicted to develop south of Arkansas and move northeast overnight into Arkansas. With temperatures hovering at or below freezing temperatures, a mixture of freezing light rain, light sleet and possible snow was expected. The precipitation was expected to become rain as temperatures increase during the day Friday.
“At this time, winter weather amounts are expected to be low, but any amounts due to the ongoing power outages and travel difficulties across Arkansas will adversely affect conditions,” the Weather Service stated when issuing the advisory.
The Weather Service warned that the weather could cause further power outage and worsen driving conditions.
By Thursday evening, the number of customers without power reported by Entergy for Jefferson County was down to 558. In Grant County, 2,095 customers were without power.
By comparison, Pulaski County reported having the most outages in the state at 72,084 customers without power Thursday evening.
Within Jefferson County, the most power outages were concentrated in the Hardin area. Other areas with higher concentrations of outages were in the Redfield area, south-central Pine Bluff and near the Pine Bluff Arsenal.
The Salvation Army does not have a facility open specifically for people who have been without power, a spokesman said, but those who need to get away from the cold for awhile can visit the Salvation Army’s regular overnight shelter facility from 4:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. at 501 E. 14th Ave. An evening meal and breakfast are served.