Conway fares well in area's first major winter weather event of season

The first significant weather event of the winter season brought few travel and outage problems to Conway on Monday.

 

Sleet and freezing rain began falling in Faulkner County at about 9 p.m. Sunday, with road conditions deteriorating by 11:30 p.m. across much of the region.

Shortly after midnight Monday, sporadic outages were reported for Conway Corporation customers in the different areas of the city. Power was restored by 4 a.m. Monday.

Temperatures had dropped significantly from the 70s on Saturday to a high of 38 degrees Sunday prior to the winter storm warning.

Faulkner County faired better than southwest Arkansas in terms of outages. Entergy Arkansas described the region as the most impacted.

By 1 p.m., nearly 30,000 power outages were reported for Entergy customers across the state, though none were reported in Faulkner County before deadline.

Entergy Arkansas spokeswoman Julie Munsell told the Associated Press that about 27,000 customers lost power during the storm.

Entergy brought in about 1,000 reserve workers from outside the state to help restore power.

Still, the icy conditions in Conway were enough to temporarily close a portion of Salem Road, from Meadowlake Road to Highway 64 (Old Morrilton Highway). The road reopened Monday afternoon.

Despite the closure, LaTresha Woodruff, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, said no weather-related accidents were reported Monday.

Traffic was light along main thoroughfares in the city throughout much of the morning and afternoon and many residents took the advice of local and state officials who encouraged them to stay at home unless travel was necessary.

Given the President’s Day holiday, Conway city offices were already closed and not impacted as a result of the winter weather.

Two schools in Faulkner County were already out for the holiday – Conway and Greenbrier – but the weather meant a day off for other students at Vilonia and Mayflower, as well as Conway’s three higher education institutions.

The K-12 and higher education institutions each used their first snow days of the season.

A baseball game between the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was postponed to Wednesday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at Bear Stadium as a result of the inclement weather. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

Statewide, safety and transportation officials were pleased that the winter weather outcome calmed their initial fears.

An Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman said the agency expected a lot more trouble than what materialized.

“It seems like we maybe dodged a bullet that was seemingly heading this way,” spokesman Rick Fahr said Monday morning.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the closure of state offices in the Little Rock metropolitan area early in the day Monday.

State employees outside of the central Arkansas region were advised to check with their supervisors for closings in their respective areas of the state.

The Arkansas Legislature, now in its sixth week of the session that convented Jan. 12, cancelled proceedings for Monday due to the mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

State House and Senate members were set to meet and vote on a number of proposed legislative measures.

The winter storm also contributed to dozens of flight cancellations at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Randy Ort said no state highways were closed due to the weather. He said accidents on Interstate 55 and Interstate 40 caused some traffic delays.

Ort said freezing temperatures could keep roadways slick and similarly warned drivers to stay home.

“We’ll continue to work around the clock until this is over but we’re not going to see much help from mother nature for the next few days,” Ort said.

Any developments from the winter storm regarding closings and road conditions for Tuesday will be updated at thecabin.net.

(Associated Press writers Allen Reed and Andrew DeMillo contributed to this report.)

 

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