Many In East Arkansas Remain Without Electricity

(East Arkansas) Old man winter shows no sign of loosening its grip on east Arkansas, where thousands are still without electricity.

Utility crews have been working since Sunday to restore power, after freezing rain, ice and snow delivered a crippling punch.

And you can’t imagine how miserable things really are until you walk in the shoes of a Mississippi County man we found Friday afternoon.

If misery has a face, it belongs to Ernie Johnson, Jr.,  who lives in Birdsong, Ark., in Mississippi County.

He has been without electricity since Sunday night.

“I ain’t got no light. Ain’t nobody got no light,” said the man.

Friday he was shivering in the cold, next to a warming fire that doubled as a stove.

“I can’t even cook,” said Johnson.

As he hurried back into the deep freeze he calls home, he said he does have relatives in West Memphis, but no place nearby to escape the cold.

Utility crews have been working around the clock to restore power to the hardest hit areas of east Arkansas.

And Blanche Ervine of Turrell, Arkansas is sick of it.

“Awful, awful. no heat, no water, no nothin’,”said Ervine.

Things finally turned around Thursday evening and the power came back on to most of Turrell.

But there’s plenty of icy limbs and downed trees to clean up and some of them crushed Blanche Ervine’s fence.

Lucky for her a longtime friend was able to help out.

Michael Aikens lives in Turrell and owns ABC Construction Company.

“Neighbors helping neighbors. We all grew up together and I went to school with her kids. And so we’re just being neighborly, helping each other out,” said Aikens.

The extreme cold is causing real headaches for some Arkansas farmers too.

At Paul Driver and Sons Farms in Turrell, it took two hours to get diesel trucks running Friday morning.

There are forty-thousand bushels of soybeans inside two storage bins on the Driver’s farm and they need to be loaded into trailers and taken to a grain elevator in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Fortunately, the Driver’s operation doesn’t need electricity to empty the bins, just a diesel-powered tractor to power a conveyor belt.

Regardless of how cold it is, Jonathan Driver has to make every minute count.

“The market’s are going down ten-cents for next month’s delivery. So if we get the extra ten-cents this month, that makes it kind of worth while,” said Driver.

Jonathan Driver said the extreme cold could kill off insects that threaten crops, but the cold weather could also delay milo and corn crops from being planted on schedule.