LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Portions of Arkansas suffered a devastating blow Sunday night as a tornado cut a swath of destruction that included communities just west of Little Rock and the Mayflower/Vilonia area.
Damage to Entergy facilities is widespread. As of 2 p.m. Monday, outages were at 10,500, down from a peak of 35,722 at 8:15 p.m. Sunday evening.
Most of the outages – approximately 9,000 – are in the Mayflower/Vilonia area. Vilonia suffered similar tornado damage only three years ago this week. An eyewitness tweeted, “I'm walking through downtown Vilonia. At least of 90% of Main Street homes & businesses are no longer there.”
The Mayflower substation has suffered significant damage. Scouts on the ground and in helicopters are still assessing damage, but preliminary reports have identified more than 300 poles down and 50 transmission structures down.
Some crews worked all night, primarily switching power around the damaged areas to restore service to nearly 20,000 customers by 5 a.m. Much of the work Monday involved clearing transmission lines from roadways and railroad tracks.
More than 1,000 workers are engaged in the effort to repair the damage, including those normally in Arkansas and some being brought in from elsewhere. More out-of-state workers will be mobilized Tuesday after completing restoration work in their home networks.
“Our deepest sympathies to those who were impacted by this storm,” said Brady Aldy, Entergy Arkansas director of transmission and distribution operations. “We understand how difficult this situation is for the affected communities, and we are doing all we can to help. We have the workers in place and a plan of action to restore power to the affected areas as quickly as is safely possible.”
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.