1 dead in Arkansas, more than 200,000 lose power - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

1 dead in Arkansas, more than 200,000 lose power

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The remnants of Hurricane Ike knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in Arkansas and killed one person as storm bands passed through Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service has confirmed three tornado tracks and will look for more tomorrow.

Each of the tornadoes was rated at EF1 on the Enchanced Fujita Scale.

Damage from Ike's storm bands stretched across the state, bringing massive power outages less than two weeks after Gustav stalled over Arkansas and caused wind and flood damage.

Ike's damage spanned a wide area across the state, including at least three tornadoes that have been confirmed by the National Weather Service. Lonoke County and Garland County each had a tornado, and another cut a path in Hot Spring and Saline counties.

Entergy Arkansas said Sunday that it had a peak of 179,000 customers without power, with the greatest concentrations in Hot Springs and Little Rock. Late Sunday afternoon, 96,000 of Entergy customers had their power restored, leaving 82,750 in need of repairs. Other utilities reported thousands more without power.

The fatality occurred in Fisher in southwest Poinsett County when a tree fell on a mobile home, killing 29-year-old Nathan Glass, authorities said. The Poinsett County Sheriff's Department said Glass and a friend were preparing to leave the trailer when the tree fell.      

A 61 mph gust was recorded in Newport. A 54 mph gust was logged at the airport in Camden, 51 mph in Harrison and 53 mph in Flippin, according to the National Weather Service. Gusts of 40 mph or more were reported in Clark, Garland, Jefferson and Pulaski counties.

Winds knocked down trees and power lines in Garland, Perry and Saline counties. The weather service said the Lonoke County tornado began about 2½ miles southwest of Cabot and traveled two-thirds of a mile, according to the weather service. Damage along the track included roof damage to an apartment building, destruction of a self-storage unit, torn up metal buildings and business signs that were knocked down. The twister took down a number of utility poles.

Each of the tornadoes was given a rating of EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The Garland County tornado touched down Saturday night about 11 miles east of Hot Springs and moved north on the ground for almost 2½ miles in a rural, forested area. The weather service said only timber sustained damage. However, strong storms in the area knocked out power to thousnds and did other damage as Ike's storm bands moved through.

The tornado in Hot Spring and Saline counties touched down about 2½ miles southeast of Glen Rose and traveled for 8½ miles, dissipating about 5 miles west of Benton. The weather service said that among many trees blown down by the twister, one fell on a house. The report by meteorologist John Robinson noted that the tornado passed through the Crossroads community, which had a tornado strike on April 3.

Other possible tornado tracks will be visited by the weather service on Monday.      

Less than two weeks before Ike, a weakened Hurricane Gustav stalled over Arkansas, dropping tremendous amounts of rain - more than a foot in places - and knocking out electricity to 140,000.

Ike came and went more quickly, leaving rainfall of 3.33 inches at Mena, 3.10 at Mount Ida and 2.64 at Hot Springs.

In the Hot Springs area, Entergy had 41,000 outages and 28,000 in Little Rock, though many were restored Sunday. Other areas with large outages include Conway with 18,000, Batesville with 16,000 and Malvern with 12,000. Searcy had 8,000 and Russellville had 6,000.

First Electric Cooperative said Grant, Saline and southeast Pulaski counties had 6,000 outages, with 8,500 out in Cleburne, Independence and White counties. The total was down to about 4,600 outages Sunday night.

Southwestern Electric Power Co. said Saturday night about 7,500 lost power in Benton and Washington counties, while 16,000 Ozarks Electric Cooperative customers lost power, mainly in Washington County.

Entergy noted the 179,000 outages in its system is more than a quarter of its 684,000 Arkansas customers. During the ice storms in December 2000, Entergy had 230,000 outages.

The weather service said the last time the center of two tropical systems crossed Arkansas in the same season was 1985. The remnants of Hurricanes Danny and Elena passed over the state on Aug. 16 and Sept. 4, respectively.            

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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