WINTER BLAST

JANUARY 27, 2009

A VICIOUS ICE STORM THAT PARALYZED MUCH OF THE NORTHERN PART OF ARKANSAS , AS MOTHER NATURE IS BLAMED AGAIN FOR LOSS OF LIVES , DESTROYED COMMUNITIES AND LEFT HUNDRED OF THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS IN THE TOTAL DARKNESS . THIS WILL BE ONE WINTER ICE STORM NOT SOON FORGOTTEN FOR CITIZENS OF GREENE COUNTY AND NORTHERN ARKANSAS . THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD LEFT DEVASTATED AND WONDERING HOW TO CARE FOR THEIR FAMILIES IN THE LONG COLD WINTER TEMPATURES IN THE TEENS . WITHOUT ANYWAY TO HEAT THEIR HOMES . BEING TOLD IT MAY BE 6 TO 8 WEEKS BEFORE POWER IS RESTORED . SOME COUNTIES WERE DEALING WITH NO WATER , NO PHONE OR CELL SERVICE , NO OPERATING GROCERY STORES OR GAS STATIONS . EMERGENCY OFFICIALS SAYING THAT THIS IS THE MOST WIDESPREAD WEATHER-RELATED DAMAGE AND DESTRUCTION SINCE THE 1930'S.

BELOW IS INFORMATION THAT I RECORDED DURING THE DAYS OF THE ICE STORM AND HOW OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR STATE CAME TOGETHER TO HELP EACH OTHER . LENDING A HELPING HAND . MY HUSBAND AND I TOOK PHOTOS OF THE DAMAGE OF THE STORM THAT MADE EVERYONES LIVES STAND STILL . THANK YOU TO ALL THE PEOPLE , ELECTRIC CREWS AND EVERYONE HELPING TO RESTORE OUR DAILY LIVES . BELOW MAKES ME PROUD TO BE FROM GREENE COUNTY , ARKANSAS .

WRITTEN BY :

Tina Easley

tina@grnco.net

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ar/county/greene/

THIS PHOTO ABOVE WAS TAKEN ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE ICE STORM I TOOK THIS PHOTO ON TUESDAY MORNING , JANUARY 27, 2009 . AT FIRST THE FREEZING RAIN JUST SEEMED IN A EERIE WAY BEAUTIFUL THE WAY IT SPARKLED COATING THE TREES AND GROUND . THE FREEZING RAIN HAD STARTED LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON. THE RAIN CAME DOWN TO FAST TO FREEZE ON THE HIGHWAYS AND STREETS BUT WHAT IT DID TO EVERYTHING ELSE WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER.

BELOW IS A DIARY I KEPT DURING THE ICE STORM WHILE SITTING AT HOME WITH CANDLES BURNING AFTER THE POWER OUTAGE AFRAID TO RUN OUR GENERATOR DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS BECAUSE OF THE FUEL SHORTAGE . LISTENING TO THE LIVE REPORTS ON THE RADIO ON BROADCAST STATION - 107.1 " THE TRAIN " DJ'S BRIAN OSBORN AND DINA MASON . THE TRAIN RADIO STATION WAS OFF THE AIR DUE TO POWER OUTAGE FOR 12 HOURS. THE STATION WAS BROADCASTING FROM GENERATOR POWER WITH THE HELP OF FRIENDS .

THE DAYS BELOW RECORDED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE ICE STORM TO THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED .

MONDAY , JANUARY 26, 2009 - FREEZING RAIN STARTING LATE THIS AFTERNOON , WE WERE TOLD NOT TO REPORT TO WORK FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS DUE TO BAD WEATHER COMING IN . IN ALL THE YEARS I HAVE BEEN THERE I HAVE NEVER SEEN MY EMPLOYERS WORRIED ABOUT BAD WEATHER . BUT I KNEW THEY MUST HAVE KNOWN THERE WAS SOMETHING BAD ON THE WAY.

TUESDAY , JANUARY 27 , 2009 - 100% FREEZING RAIN , SNOW AND SLEET AFTER MIDNIGHT , TUESDAY NIGHT OUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES CAME TO OUR HOUSE THEIR HOUSES WERE ALL ELECTRIC THEIR POWER WENT OUT ABOUT 7:00 P.M. WE HAD A GENERATOR AND PROPANE BACK UP HEAT , AT LEAST WE COULD ALL STAY WARM.

THE PHOTO ABOVE TAKEN ON TUESDAY , JANUARY 27, 2009 OF POWER LINES LOADED DOWN FROM WEIGHT OF THE FROZEN RAIN . WE HAD FREEZING RAIN ALL DAY , THE TREES AND POWER LINES BREAKING FROM THE WEIGHT . AT THIS TIME POWER OUTAGES WERE REPORTED IN THE THOUSANDS . TUESDAY NIGHT WE COULD NOT SLEEP FROM THE SOUNDS OF CRASHING TREES AND LIMBS , TRANSFORMERS FALLING AND BLOWING UP FROM THE WEIGHT WHEN THEY HIT THE GROUND.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON A CALL FROM PIGGOTT COMMUNITY HOSPITAL NEEDING HELP FROM OUR HOSPITAL , ARKANSAS METHODIST MEDICAL CENTER . PIGGOTT HOSPITAL HAD LOST POWER NEEDED TO MOVE SERIOUSLY ILL PATIENT'S TO ANOTHER MEDICAL CENTER. OUR COMMUNITY HOSPITAL STEPPED UP AND TOOK IN 15 PATIENTS TRANSPORTING THEM BY AMBULANCE BACK TO AMMC WHICH HAD LOST POWER AT 8:00 P.M. TUESDAY AND WAS RUNNING ON AUXILLARY POWER .

REPORTED FROM TRUMANN POLICE CHIEF LARRY BLAGG WAS KILLED BY A FALLEN ICE COVERED LIMB TRYING TO HELP CLEAR THE ROADS FROM DEBREE.

PHOTO BELOW ONE OF THE ELECTRIC POLES CRUMPLED BY THE ICE STORM IN THE OAK GROVE AREA . TAKEN ON WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 .

WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 - 10:00 A.M. 107.1 REPORTED TEMPATURE 29* , SNOW THIS MORNING . OVER 40,000 PEOPLE OUT OF ELECTRIC REPORTED . WIDE-SPREAD POWER OUTAGES FOR NORTHERN ARKANSAS . ELECTRIC CREWS FROM OTHER STATES COMING TO HELP . ALL OF PARAGOULD IN THE DARK EXCEPT A SMALL PORTION OF CENTER HILL AND THE HOSPITAL AND LOWE'S RUNNING OFF OF BACKUP GENERATORS. CALL 911 ONLY IF IT IS LIFE OR DEATH . NATIONAL GUARD COMING TO HELP. ICE STORM SHUT DOWN PARAGOULD'S POWER GRID.

PICTURE ABOVE TAKEN WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 JUST PAST THE S CURVES AT OAK GROVE THE AFTERMATH OF THE STORM.

WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 - 12:30 P.M. 107.1 REPORTED - KUM & GO GAS STATION RUNNING OUT OF FUEL , MR. T'S AT RIVERSIDE RUNNING LOW OF FUEL . (DURING THIS ICE STORM NONE OF OUR NORMAL CONVIENCES SUCH AS GAS STATIONS , ATM'S , CELL PHONES , WAL-MART , GROCERY STORES WERE NOT OPEN OR WORKING DUE TO THE POWER OUTAGE . THIS IS SOMETHING ALLOT OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION HAS NEVER DONE WITHOUT . )

LIBERTY BANK AND FIRST NATIONAL BANK OPEN RUNNING OFF OF GENERATORS . ATM'S WORKING FOR PEOPLE NEEDING CASH .

SHELTERS OPENED AT MARMADUKE - RED CROSS SHELTER FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH , PARAGOULD , RED CROSS SHELTER FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH . ASKING FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS TO COME GET RESIDENTS AT THE MINI RISE IN PARAGOULD (RETIREMENT HOME ) BACK UP GENERATORS WILL NOT WORK .

NORTHEAST ARKANSAS DECLARED A DISASTER AREA BY GOVENOR MIKE BEEBE

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA CONTACTING GOV. BEEBE TO GET STARTED ON A DISASTER DECLARATION THAT CLEARS THE WAY FOR FUNDING AND OTHER SUPPORT AS COUNTIES SCATTERED ACROSS THE REGION AND STATE TACKLE THE RECOVERY EFFORTS. SIGHT UNSEEN.
“Flying over the areas hit by the storm gives you a different perspective,” Beebe said of the damage. “It’s the worst I’ve seen. There are 8,000-plus power poles down in north Arkansas so it is a devastating situation. You look down and see so many tree tops and limbs gone.”

BRINGING IN A EMERGENCY SHIPMENT OF GENERATORS TONIGHT BE HERE AT 6:00 P.M. IN THE PARKING LOT BEHIND CHILLI'S .

SCHOOL'S BUSINESS , FACTORIES , CLOSED . CELLPHONES AND LAND LINE PHONES GOING OUT OR OVERLOADED FROM PEOPLE CHECKING ON FAMILIES . PEOPLE BEING HURT OR KILLED FROM FALLING LIMBS.

WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 - 12:43 P.M. 107.1 REPORTED -.OUR COUNTY IS IN A MAJOR CRISIS . MR. T'S AT RIVERSIDE REPORTED OUT OF FUEL . DEE'S OUT OF PROPANE . 107.1 ASKING PEOPLE TO CALL IN IF THEY KNOW WHERE OTHERS CAN FIND PROPANE AND FUEL. PEOPLE CALLING WANTING TO KNOW WHERE TO FIND KEROSENE . ASKING PEOPLE TO HAVE PATIENCE AT THE FOUR - WAY STOPS SET UP AT TRAFFIC LIGHTS.

WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 - 12:52 P.M. 107.1 REPORTED - WEATHER REPORT FOR TONIGHT CLEAR AND COLD TEMPATURES IN THE TEENS.

CENTER HILL CHURCH OF CHRIST OPENING FOR A SHELTER . NO FOOD BRING YOUR OWN BLANKETS . SHELTERS NEED FOOD ASKING BUSINESS , GROCERY STORES TO DONATE FOOD AND SUPPLIES. WAL-MART OPENED UP THERE STORE TO THE SHELTERS AND TOLD THEM TO COME GET WHAT THEY NEEDED .

THIS PHOTO ABOVE IS WHAT OUR COUNTY LOOKS LIKE EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK DOWN POWER LINES IN ANY DIRECTION , TREES PULLED UP FROM THE GROUND BY THEIR ROOTS FROM THE WEIGHT OF THE ICE .

WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 28, 2009 - 1:30 P.M. 107.1 REPORTED - ASKING PEOPLE TO STAY OFF THE STREETS , DOWNED POWER LINES , FALLING TREES AND LIMBS . CREWS TRYING TO WORK TO RESTORE OUR POWER . VERY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS.

MOST PHONE SERVICES OUT OR OVER LOADED . MY HUSBAND AND SON-N-LAW WENT TO TRY TO FIND MORE PROPANE . OSCELA CLOSET PLACE THAT HAS FUEL . AIRPORT AT JONESBORO HAS KEROSENE . STILL ASKING FOR PEOPLE TO COME AND GET FAMILY MEMBERS AT THE MINI RISE .

EMERSON , ARI , UTILITY , MONROE , DARLING A, B, C SHIFTS CLOSED . GOVERMENT OFFICIES CLOSED . NEA LANDFIELD CLOSED , SCHOOLS CLOSED , NO CHURCH SERVICES , DAYCARES .

ELECTRIC CREWS FROM OTHER STATES ARRIVING TONIGHT . PEOPLE HEADING SOUTH TO STAY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS , SOME GOING TO MEMPHIS . MOTELS FILLED UP NO -VACANCY . CUM & GO ON HWY 18 AT JONESBORO HAS FUEL . LAFE ASKED TO BOIL WATER . MARMADUKE CURFEW FROM SUNUP TO SUNDOWN NO ONE ALLOWED ON THE STREETS.

DOWNED POWER LINES ALONG COUNTY ROAD .

MY HUSBAND AND SON-N- LAW WAITED 3 1/2 HOURS IN LINE TO GET PROPANE . WHEN THEY RETURNED HOME WE STARTED THE GENERATOR AND WATCHED KAIT - 8 OUR LOCAL TV STATION . FOR REPORTS .

THE 3 1/2 HOUR WAIT AT DEE'S POPANE

KAIT - CHANNEL 8 - BROADCASTING EVERY HOUR WITH REPORTS OF WHERE PEOPLE CAN FIND SHELTERS . CHURCHES SERVING HOT MEALS .

THURSDAY , JANUARY 29, 2009 - THE CRISIS CONTINUED . THE CONVACATION CENTER AT JONESBORO OPENED FOR A SHELTER .

ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS HAVE BROUGHT COTS AND BLANKETS FOR USE IN SHELTERS , ALONG WITH PROVIDING GENERATOR SUPPORT AND SENT A PAIR OF 2,500 GALLON TANKERS TO JONESBORO.

BLACK OAK RESIDENTS REQUIRED TO BOIL WATER . BONO ISSUED A CURFEW LAW 6 A.M. TO 6 P.M. EXCEPT THOSE TRAVELING TO AND FROM WORK OR OTHER EMERGENCIES. LOCAL HOSPITALS REPORTED 12 CASES OF CARBON - MONOXIDE POISONING OFFICIALS URGED PEOPLE TO BE CAREFUL WHEN USING ALTERNATIVE HEATING SOURCES .

DOWNED POWER LINES CROSSING HWY 49 NORTH DAMAGE OF MORE POWER LINES AND POLES ACROSS THE ROAD.

BECAUSE OF THAWING , URGED TO BE CAREFUL DRIVING BY DAMAGED OR BENT TREES AND POWER LINES.

FOUR THOUSAND GALLONS OF PROPANE A DAY SINCE MONDAY HAS BEEN SOLD AT DEE'S PROPANE ON HWY 49 NORTH .

FRIDAY , JANUARY 30, 2009 - GREENE COUNTY , CONSTABLE FOR SHADY GROVE TOWNSHIP , CLAUDE GRAVES WAS DELIVERING COFFEE TODAY TO THE ELECTRIC CREWS WORKING TO REPAIR LINES WHEN HE OVERHEARD SOME OF THEM COMPLAINING ABOUT EATING PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHES . WHEN CONSTABLE GRAVES HAD A IDEA TO MAKE AVAILABLE HOT MEALS FOR THE WORKERS. 24 HOURS LATER AND THE HELP OF 45 VOLUNTEERS IN THE PARKING LOT OF SIMMONS BANK IN PARAGOULD THE VOLUNTEERS PREPARED 600 TO 700 HOT MEALS FOR THE CREWS FROM CRAIGHEAD ELECTRIC , PARAGOULD LIGHT , WATER AND CABLE , ENTERGY AND EMERGENCY PERSONNEL . THE CREWS HAVE BEEN WORKING 16 HOURS SHIFTS AND SAID THEY WOULD WORK WEEKENDS TOO AND WOULD NOT LEAVE UNTIL ALL POWER WAS RESTORED.

RESTORING UTILITY POLES . THANK YOU !

COUNTY JUDGE JESSE DOLLARS SAID THEY WERE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO CLEAR DEBREE FROM THE ROADWAYS . ARKANSAS FOREST COMMISION ARRIVED TODAY WITH BULLDOZERS AND CHAINSAWS TO HELP WITH THE CLEAN UP . OUTLYING AREAS HIT HARD . MOST COUNTY RESIDENTS REMAIN WITHOUT POWER . JUDGE DOLLARS SAID MARMADUKE AND OAK GROVE WERE TWO OF HARDEST HIT AREAS IN THE COUNTY.

 

SATURDAY , JANUARY 31, 2009 - Acting FEMA Director Nancy Ward announced Thursday that federal emergency aid has been made available for Arkansas counties hit by the storm. Clay, Craighead, Cross, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett  and Sharp counties in Northeast Arkansas were among those listed to receive assistance.