(Blytheville, AR) In Blytheville, Ark., people are saying this is the worst ice storm they can remember.
It left thousands in the dark and stranded dozens of people on the highway.
Some drivers chose to give up trying to get to their destinations.
People driving through Blytheville Sunday night trying to get to New Orleans or Memphis couldn’t make it any further because of the conditions.
Many pulled over to camp out at places like the Hampton Inn that had no rooms left by the middle of the night.
People who had no other choice snuggled up in hotel lobbies.
Greg Mharle, a Michigan resident, said, “I just kept driving thinking it was going to get better. It didn’t get better, it got worse…and I finally picked an exit ramp but I couldn’t get off it.”
But even at the Hampton Inn, power went out, and once cars came in, they couldn’t get out again.
This ice storm kept even first responders from doing their jobs
Ross Thompson, Blytheville police chief, said, “The tow trucks are busy, they’re having to abandon some of the vehicles and it’s just a mess…it’s just brutally cold and bad roads.”
“We’ve been running on emergency power at the sheriff’s office since yesterday afternoon,” he added.”
Even Arkansas state highway crews couldn’t tackle the road problems for hours.
Jackknifed semi-trucks blocked I-55, leaving the highway not only iced over, but impassible.
Crews were still working around the clock Monday night to sand the six inches of ice.
“Everybody’s having trouble with traction.”
They’re trying to get people past the worst ice storm even the mayor of Blytheville can remember
Mayor James Sanders said, “I am a former police officer here and this is just some of the worst I have ever seen…so if you don’t have to, please say at home.”
While the ice storm has come and gone, temperatures will go back into the lower teens overnight, creating more ice where we might have seen some melting .
Work crews from all over the country came to try to combat power issues in the area.
Our live truck’s windshield wiper broke off because of ice, and that ice made it impossible for people to travel all the roads.
One truck driver says he’s been through 46 snowstorms around the country this year, but this Arkansas blast had his tires spinning.
Mike McGuinness said, “This is ice. This is actually the worst weather you can possibly be in because it doesn’t dissipate, it actually gets worse, then your vehicle gets even heavier with the ice on it.”
It took him hours to finally get back on the road to Chicago.
Other people who also had other places to be got stuck in Blytheville.
“This is our honey moon,” one woman said with a laugh.
That’s a good attitude when dealing with an ice storm that blew in and left thousands in the dark, with nowhere to go.
Even crews in Arkansas trying to tackle downed power lines had trouble making progress because of six inches of ice on the roads.
Hundreds of workers from Florida to Texas camped out in local hotels – many of which also lost power.
They were the ones who had to face the aftermath of the storm, but this truck driver had advice for everyone else:
“Whatever you do, stay home and do not go out.”
The Mississippi County Sheriff also had advice for us: to keep off I-54 and stay in Blytheville for another night.