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Hurricane Florence Mobilizes Arkansas Manpower — Disasters 'Bring Communities Together'

Entergy Arkansas
Utility crews from Arkansas are headed to the states affected by Hurricane Florence under a mutual aid agreement.

One hundred utility workers and contractors from Arkansas hit the road Tuesday for the East Coast to help out the states expected to be hit hard by Hurricane Florence.

“A lot of the crew, a lot of the linemen, like going to these storm assignments.  They enjoy the work,” said Kerri Case, a spokesperson for Entergy Arkansas.

She said the Arkansas crew will work on resetting poles, picking up lines that may have blown down and making any general repairs to help restore power as quickly as possible.

“These are tough storms to work, so our guys are really focused on safety,” she added.

Credit Entery Arkansas
Entergy Arkansas employees and contractors say a quick prayer before heading out to help hurricane victims on the East Coast About 20 workers left from Entergy's Baseline Service Center in Little Rock on Tuesday, while about 80 others departed from other parts of the state.

The help from Arkansas was welcomed news for Lisa Bohn, a former theater professor at Arkansas State University who moved to North Carolina this summer.  She had just left a Target store that had quickly run out of bottled water, batteries, flashlights, camping stoves and other items people might need to ride out the storm.

“It’s interesting that when natural disasters hit, it always seems to bring communities together,” Bohn said of the utility crews from Arkansas on their way to the Carolinas.

Arkansas will not feel the effects of the storm at the gas pumps, according to Michael Right, a spokesperson for AAA, which tracks gas trends.

“What’s going on with the hurricane along the eastern seaboard is not likely to have any noticeable impact on gasoline prices in Arkansas.”

Case noted that it's impossible to tell yet when Arkansas crews might be successful in restoring power to some areas, since much of it will depend on where flooding issues develop. 

In North Carolina, Bohn described the tone as very mixed, with some people truly fearful of the storm and others sure that everything is going to work out.

"I love that there are folks from Arkansas ready to come help out.  That's fantastic," she said.

This story is produced by Arkansas Public Media. What's that? APM is a nonprofit journalism project for all of Arkansas and a collaboration among public media in the state. We're funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the support of partner stations KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK. And, we hope, from you!

Ann Kenda joined Arkansas Public Media in January 2017 from Sudbury, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and previously worked in public radio, commercial radio and newspaper in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She focuses on health, justice, education and energy as part of the Arkansas Public Media team. Her stories can be found on the airwaves, and social media.
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