Storm ravages South, Monticello not spared
Thu, 04/16/2020 - 8:24am classified@mont...
Severe weather with straight-line winds and tornados tore across the southern United States Sunday, April 12, leaving over one million people without electricity, over 128,000 in Arkansas. Drew County suffered along with the rest of the states with the storms knocking power out and leaving over 5,770 customers still effected as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14.
As residents left their houses Monday, April 13, debris and power-lines littered the streets and gas was a hot commodity as only a few gas stations had electricity. This led to long lines backed up for a couple miles in some spots and the few gas stations with electricity being over run with demand. Added to the chaos and making things take longer were the social distancing guidelines along with limits on how many people could be in the gas station at a time.
Damage was wide spread and there was no clear path of destruction. Drew Memorial Health System head of maintenance, Ronnie Elllis, was called in to the work shortly after the Health System lost power and began depending on a generator.
“Right about the time I got to work my wife called,” said Ellis Sunday night at his home. “She said she didn’t know what happened but the whole house shook. I came home, saw the tree on the house and called Travis Chapman.”
At 11 p.m. Sunday night, Chapman and his crew was already at work removing the tree from the home.
According to Ellis, he also suffered damage earlier this when severe storms damage University of Arkansas Monticello campus and Bowser Road.
“Four trees then,” said Ellis, jokingly asking if anyone would like to buy a house.
The University of Arkansas Monticello campus was hit once again also with trees littering the campus, the Willis Convoy Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium scoreboard laying at the foot of a tree and the remains of the Press Box laying between the stadium and the Steelman Field House.
The Drew County Fair Grounds suffered damage to the roof of the extension building with a large portion of the roof rolled up and more completely gone and scattered on the ground.
As Energy works to bring power back to Monticello and the rest central and southern Arkansas, workers methodically to repair equipment and restore power while still trying to stay safe and healthy by maintaining a safe social distancing.
“Customers should refrain from approaching utility workers, especially during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. Interruptions will slow workers’ progress under normal conditions, but the health and safety of both Entergy Arkansas employees and customers can be put in jeopardy with close contact,” Energy stated in a press release asking customers to maintain their distance.
Ushering in a new age where customers are unable to show their appreciation by making sure workers have plenty of water and food to eat while they work.
According to Entergy, Monticello and Wilmar’s damage include “26 broken poles, 47 spans of downed wire and over 30 additional pieces of damaged equipment. Crews continue to work to restore heavily damaged facilities in the North Gabbert Street area of Monticello as well areas near Cherry St and US Highway 425 North; for those areas power is expected to be restored at approximately 6 p.m. tonight, April 14. Estimated restoration times for other areas will be made available as soon as possible as crews execute their safe restoration plans.”
The company also listed several things customers could do to prepare for restoration of their power, stressing that is a customers structure has damaged electrical equipment, they may not have power when the paper was restored.
For customers who lose power, there are several things they should do to ensure their structures are ready to be re-connected to the grid.
▪ Check outside and around structures for damage to electrical equipment.
▪ If the meter or any of the conduit and wires on the outside wall are missing or look damaged, call an electrician to make repairs.
▪ If the home or business has been flooded, customers will need to contact the appropriate city or county for an electrical inspection before service can be restored.
▪ Entergy Storm Center has information on how to spot damages.
Safety is of utmost importance.
▪ There is no way to know if a downed line is energized. Stay away and call 1-800-9OUTAGE (800-968-8243).
▪ Stay away from standing water and debris from trees and other vegetation. It may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
▪ If you’re using a generator wired to your home, an electrician needs to connect it to prevent damage to your electrical system or injury to our linemen.