Winter has struck in Lawrence County and the hits keep coming as a storm system dropped several inches of snow on Sunday and Monday while ice remained on the ground from a winter weather event last week.
Residents are preparing for another round of snow forecast for today and Thursday.
All schools in Lawrence County have been out since last Wednesday, using virtual learning in place of in-person classes, and Williams Baptist University students have also been attending classes remotely.
With the temperature not expected to get above freezing until at least Saturday, what falls is sticking and is expected to stick around.
County Judge John Thomison said he hopes everyone will have patience as this is not the type of weather we are used to experiencing as individuals, businesses or communities.
“Everyone just needs to use common sense,” he said “Stay home if you can. If you don’t have to get out, don’t.”
Road crews for the county joined city workers and highway department employees in facing the frustration of an ongoing winter event.
Thomison said the plan was to do as much clearing as possible on Tuesday before the next round hits today.
The city of Walnut Ridge is also working to clear streets and spread salt between the weather systems, according to Mayor Charles Snapp.
He said other city services, such as garbage pickup, may be impacted, but they are going to try to run routes as scheduled. Residents can get updates on the City of Walnut Ridge Arkansas Facebook page.
Some businesses are closed or have employees working remotely, including The Times Dispatch. Events and activities are also being canceled due to the winter weather and road conditions.
Weather causes challenges for electric companies
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and Entergy Arkansas released statements and social media campaigns urging customers to limit their use of electricity to prevent outages.
Andrew Lachowsky, vice president of planning and market operations with Craighead Electric, explained that the interconnections of electric systems frequently make it possible for one system to secure additional electricity from neighboring systems. However, he said because the present extreme cold weather is widespread throughout the region, it makes additional electric power very limited.
“Thus, conservation of energy is important to help insure a restoration of complete electric service,” he said. “The cooperatives will continue to keep the public advised of further developments concerning cutbacks of electric power.”
Entergy reported that crews have taken proactive steps to mitigate the impact of the extreme cold, including placing additional power generation into service and adding additional personnel to crews to closely monitor the facilities.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this request may cause,” said Kurt Castleberry, director of Resource Planning and Market Operations, “but the extreme temperatures for consecutive days are driving up electricity usage. This is an unusual situation driven by extreme weather conditions much of the country is experiencing.”