- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas shivered through a third consecutive day of subfreezing temperatures and received a light dusting of snow on Thursday, extending the misery after a weekend snowstorm and a Tuesday ice storm.

Less than an inch of snow fell on ice-laden trees in western and central Arkansas but didn’t pose a great threat to bring down limbs. John Robinson, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, said wind chill readings hovered in the single digits in northern Arkansas, where the air temperature hasn’t climbed above freezing since Monday.

Thursday’s bout of winter weather was the 12th of the season, Robinson said.

“At this time, we’ve probably have had twice the episodes of winter weather than we normally would,” he said. He expected the pattern to break by the end of the month or early in March.

Roads remained generally clear despite the precipitation, though for a time there were icy and snowy patches between Fort Smith and Mena in western Arkansas, said Jeff Whatley, a spokesman for the state Highway and Transportation Department.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday declared a state of emergency for the problems that have popped up since Sunday’s snowstorm in the northern half of the state. His proclamation allows state agencies to suspend certain procedures so they can aid the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management as it responds to local governments impacted by the storms.

Entergy Arkansas reported at least 13,000 customers were without electrical service at some point Thursday, according to the company’s online outage map. The figure was down from 42,000 after Tuesday’s icing.

Spokesman Rob Roedel of the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives said about 18,000 customers at one point had reported they were without power. He added that more than 50 electric poles were reported to have been broken or damaged Thursday in Craighead County and that more than 200 crew members responded to restore service.

Several north Arkansas school districts closed for the winter weather as well, and others dismissed students early.

Another round of winter weather is expected to sweep the state Friday afternoon into Saturday night, but forecasters say flurries should be the worst of the weekend weather.

Robinson said “a more significant episode of winter weather” is expected Monday and Tuesday. He said the state may get a combination of ice and snow in areas, but trying to draw the lines of where the wintry precipitation would fall is “way too early” to call.


Follow Christina Huynh on Twitter at www.twitter.com/chkhuynh

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