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Slick conditions remain on Arkansas roads, officials say

Beebe: Total damage from ice storm still being reviewed

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published December 9, 2013 at 6:23 a.m. Updated December 9, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.

drivers-negotiate-slushy-roads-monday-dec-9-2013-on-third-street-near-the-state-capitol-in-little-rock

Drivers negotiate slushy roads Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, on Third Street near the state Capitol in Little Rock.

Drivers negotiate slushy roads Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, on Third Street near the state Capitol in Little Rock.

Schools across the state again canceled classes Monday as Arkansas continued to thaw from a winter storm that dropped ice, snow and freezing rain on much of the region.

The Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation on Monday reported ice patches on most of the major highways in Little Rock.

Similar conditions were reported in much of the northern half of the state with the ice worse in Northwest Arkansas and around Jonesboro.

Authorities in Little Rock about 6:15 a.m. responded to a multiple-vehicle wreck on Interstate 430 at I-630. There was no immediate word on injuries.

Many schools, universities, businesses and other entities around the state canceled because of the road conditions, including the Little Rock School District, the North Little Rock School District and the Pulaski County Special School District. A full list of closings is available here.

Temperatures on Monday are expected to reach 35 degrees, so conditions will likely improve later in the day.

Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday that it will take weeks to establish the overall extent of the damage from the winter storm but that officials had feared the impact on utilities would be greater.

More than 60,000 customers across Arkansas lost power at one point, though most were restored by Sunday. Utilities had warned as the storm approached that power could be out for up to a week for some.

"It ended up being a little bit better than we thought it was going to be, thankfully," Beebe said after a speech at the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Directors' Winter Conference in Little Rock.

Another system could bring wintry precipitation to parts of the state, though the effect is expected to be minor.

John Robinson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, said the weak system will produce light snow or flurries in north Arkansas and freezing rain or drizzle in the south.

But, he said, the snow would likely be "measured in tenths of an inch" if any accumulates at all, while the ice could amount only to "a couple hundredths of an inch."

Asked whether the early arrival of a major winter storm concerned him about what the season has in store, Beebe chuckled.

"You wonder how many of these are we going to have," he said. "It did seem to come earlier this year. But Arkansas' weather is such that you can't pigeonhole it. Just because we got one early doesn't mean we're going to have one all the time. And conversely, just because we end up with a mild winter doesn't mean we're going to have a mild spring. So who knows."

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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