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In storm's wake, 100,000 still without power in Arkansas, Texas

December 28, 2012|By Andrew Khouri
  • As the storm passed through Worcester, Mass., a man still was able to use his cellphone.
As the storm passed through Worcester, Mass., a man still was able to use… (Steve Lanava / The Telegram…)

More than 100,000 customers remained without power in Arkansas and Texas on Friday after a powerful winter storm smacked the area Christmas Day with ice and record snowfall.

The weather system -- blamed for more than a dozen deaths nationwide -- caused havoc across a wide swath of the U.S., dropping twisters onto the South and unleashing heavy snowfall from the Great Lakes into New England.

Arkansas was hit particularly hard with ice and snow, resulting in massive power outages. The utility Entergy, the largest in the state, said it may take until New Year’s Day until power is fully restored to its customers in Arkansas -- where the vast majority of those affected live -- and Texas.

Ten shelters are open across Arkansas for those without power, a spokesperson with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said Friday.

The Christmas Day storm threw more than 200,000 into the dark across the state while turning roads into icy deathtraps.

By Friday morning, Entergy said it had restored power for more than 130,000 of its customers. But difficult weather conditions may put a kink into the company’s efforts to turn all the lights on, utility officials said.

But more winter weather hampered cleanup. Portions of northeast Arkansas, the Missouri bootheel and northwest Tennessee experienced a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow, the National Weather Service said. Areas to the south saw rain.

The Northeast, a region that got heavy snowfall the past few days, is due for more winter weather too -- but more manageable -- with forecasters expecting only 1 to 2 inches of snow, although some areas could see more.

Portions of New York saw more than a foot of snow during the recent storm, while the Whiteface Mountain ski resort in Lake Placid, N.Y., reported 22 inches of snowfall on Thursday.

The new storm system is expected to move into the Ohio Valley before entering the upper mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

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