Directing traffic during outage

Searcy police and White County deputies directed traffic at stoplights throughout Searcy, including at the intersection of West Beebe-Capps Expressway and Elm Street, during the 1 1/2-hour power outage Thursday caused by a tractor hitting a power "structure" south of the city.

A tractor hit a power "structure" south of Searcy, according to Entergy Arkansas spokesperson Flave Carpenter, knocking out power in areas of White and Independence counties for around an hour and a half this afternoon.

Carpenter said the tractor did not "take it down actually, but they were having problems because of his spray booms locked in the up position and it was close enough to the line that the line would arc back over and it would lock it back out. So they got everything cleared out and most of Searcy should be back on right now [around 3 p.m.]."

As to the number of customers affected, Carpenter said at one point in time, "a little under 14,000" customers were without power. "It affected not only Searcy but up to the northern part of Pangburn, up near Heber Springs and up to Southside, just south of Batesville,"

Entergy Arkansas took to their Twitter account and Facebook page to post: "We have about 16,000 customers out of power in northeast Arkansas this afternoon, the result of farm machinery running into and damaging electrical equipment. Estimated restoration by 11 p.m. To preserve food, don't open fridge or freezer doors."

The Searcy Fire Department posted on its Facebook page about "a massive power outage from Searcy to Pangburn," adding that drivers needed to be careful because "many stoplights are not working." 

White County Sheriff Phillip Miller said his department had "several deputies assist Searcy police with traffic lights."

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