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Friday, May 6, 2016

Storms blow through area

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Short but intense storms ripped through the area July 21 tearing the limbs from trees and damaging several residences.

"The worst of the damage was from Sturkie to Mammoth Spring," said Fulton County Judge Charles Willett. "There were hundreds of trees down throughout the county."

Willett said one business and a residence had their roofs pulled off by the straight-line winds. The family who lived in the residence is currently staying with relatives.

Willett said branches fell through the roofs of two other residences. He said the family living in one residence decided to stay. The other residence is vacant.

Willett said the storms knocked out most of the electric power in Mammoth Spring the evening of July 21. About half of the residents in Mammoth Spring had their power restored the following day, while the rest had to wait until July 23.

Entergy Service Manager Leslie Frensley said all 850 residents in the city were without electricity shortly after 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Entergy provides electricity to the residents in the city of Mammoth Spring.

"The city of Mammoth Spring was pretty well torn-up after the high winds came through last Friday," Frensley said.

Besides the local crews working to restore power, 30 additional Entergy crew members from Forrest City, Searcy and Mountain View were brought in to help.

Fensley said by mid-morning Saturday, 50 percent of the city of Mammoth Spring had power restored, and by 11 p.m. most all the city had electricity.

Frensley said the damage in the city was attributd to high winds that broke numerous utility poles, downed wires and unprooted trees, which fell on wires and poles.

"What we had Friday evening was a full force storm," said North Arkansas Electric (NAEC) Member Service Representative Jerry Estes. He said there were outages systemwide.

NAEC serves residents in rural Mammoth Spring, down Highway 63 nearly to Hardy and Highway 9 west to Fryatt, Camp and Salem. Estes said 600 Fulton County residents were without power July 21.

"All NAEC crew members started working around 6 p.m. Friday evening. We had a couple of good hours of daylight which allowed the crews to get a lot accomplished before dark. Of course, as night fell, our work slowed down," he said.

Estes said when working in a situation like the crews experienced last Friday, safety of the workers is always the main concern of the coop and darkness often hampers how quickly power can be restored.

He said by 9 a.m. Saturday the majority of the rural NAEC customers located close to the city of Mammoth Spring had electricity.

The storm hit the Henderson area in Baxter County hard, traveled toward Sturkie and Moko before slamming into rural Mammoth Spring.

"We appreciate the patience of the NAEC members," Estes said.

Fulton County Sheriff Walter Dillinger said a tree fell across the road on Highway 395 north of Moko. The tree blocked traffic for approximately 45 minutes as county road crews removed it.

Dillinger said the tree was a particular hazard for drivers since it blew over on a hill. "If someone was coming over that hill fast, they would have plowed right into it," Dillinger said.

Willett called the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management July 21 and sent an official disaster proclamation to the department July 22.

"We need $24,000 worth of damage to qualify for assistance," Willett said. He estimates the county suffered $75,000 to $100,000 in damage.

Members of ADEM were in the county July 24 surveying the damage.

Willett said the official document declaring the area a disaster will be ready later in the week, but he said he knew the county already qualified for assistance.

All the money will come from the state government, Willett said. He said to qualify for federal aid, damage must be in the millions of dollars.

The county started cutting up the trees and chipping the limbs July 25. "We'll cut it firewood size," Willett said, "If anyone sees it on the side of the road they're welcome to it. Just make sure it's the ones we cut up."

Willett said if no one picks up the wood within a week of its being cut, the county will have to find another way to dispose of the wood.

"I'd like to give a special thanks to the volunteer fire departments in the area," Willett said. "If you know a volunteer fireman in your area, tell them thank you." He said the volunteer firemen worked late into the night helping to get the situation under control.

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