There were about 50 heavy utility vehicles parked in the Conway Commons shopping center parking lot late Thursday night while the air hung a degree or two above freezing and a cold, miserable rain fell steadily.
A couple dozen bucket trucks from MDR Powerline Construction, Inc. were parked at one end of the parking lot and nearly as many were on the other end from T&D Solutions, another utility service company. About half a dozen cranes were split between them, and in the nearby hotel and motel and restaurant parking lots were gatherings of white base-model Chevy and Ford work trucks.
County Judge Allen Dodson added this morning that there were more heavy utility trucks parked at the Faulkner Plaza shopping center.
Presumably all were brought here by linemen expecting a lot of work today and on Saturday and for an unknown time after that to fix whatever utilities the forecasted ice storm breaks.
A man in one of the white pickup trucks late Thursday night said that he wasn’t allowed to talk to reporters. Pressed further, he said to call somebody at Entergy for an official comment. Entergy has called in about 6,700 workers to the state to respond to the storm.
On this man’s company’s Facebook.com page late Thursday night was a company message that reads:
“Arkansas is gonna get slammed with some ice tomorrow night and into Friday. We have 6 of our own crews already up here and standing by. The rest of the company is headed up bright and early in the morning. Please keep them in your prayers as they make the trip and then [the rest of] us . . . and everyone else while we fight the ice and help aid in the process of getting the power restored to the customers. Thank you and God bless.”
There’s a message a little below that about how this ice storm cancelled the company Christmas party, which was supposed to be today. The most recent message reads: “gonna be a rough one. please keep our guys in your prayers.”
By 4:30 a.m. today freezing rain and sleet was falling in downtown Conway and as of 7 a.m. some of it was starting to stick to the roads. By 9 a.m. the more travelled roads were slushy and neighborhood and rural roads were covered with sleet.