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Wintery mix expected

Crawford County will likely see a wintry mix of snow and freezing rain Wednesday, according to weather forecasters.

While forecasters from the National Weather Service in Tulsa and AccuWeather.com are predicting slightly warmer temperatures, area residents can also expect freezing rain and icy conditions throughout the day Wednesday.

Crawford County along with the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas experienced dangerous wind chills and freezing temperatures Monday and into Tuesday morning.

Cedarville and the surrounding area was without power for about an hour Tuesday morning after a system overload, said Greg Davis with Arkansas Valley Electric.

About 2,100 people were affected by the outage, which began at about 6:30 a.m., what Davis called a “peak time” for energy use. He contributed the outage to higher energy use because of the cold weather.

“Because of the time of day it happened, it’s safe to assume that’s the case,” Davis said.

Davis said the outage happened when people are not only getting ready for work and making breakfast, but this time of year, “cranking up their heaters.”

While roads remained clear Monday and Tuesday, Mulberry experienced a major water break along U.S. Route 64 at around 8 a.m. Monday because of the freezing temperatures, according to a city representative.

Public works crews were able to fix the 4-inch break by about 9 p.m. Monday, restoring water to the city, but a boil order remained in place until further notice for all residents receiving city water.

Dennis Gilstrap, Crawford County Department of Emergency Management director, took heaters to keep the crew warm as they worked on the water line in the freezing temperatures, he said.

While his department tries to remain in a state of preparedness, with winter weather such as the freezing rain predicted for Wednesday, it is a “wait and see” situation, Gilstrap said.

“This time of year we just kind of roll with the punches and we try to stay ready all the time,” Gilstrap said.

Tulsa’s National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for 32 counties in eastern Oklahoma and northwest and west central Arkansas Sunday, Jan. 5, predicting the windy, cold weather.

Snow fell in parts of Crawford County and the River Valley Sunday, and Northwest Arkansas saw several inches of snow Sunday.

After the snowfall, a surge of Arctic air brought colder temperatures Sunday night.

Freezing temperatures combined with already gusty winds resulted in dangerously low wind chill values, according to the NWS. Some locations were expected to reach record lows.

Wind chill readings were as low as 5 and 10 degrees below zero in Northwest Arkansas, according to the NWS. Several schools closed in that area Monday because of the weather, including the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

In Van Buren, the high expected for Monday was 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but roads in Crawford County were clear and all schools and government offices were open.

Though the extreme cold temperatures subsided by Tuesday morning, the NWS and AccuWeather.com continued to predict the wintry mix for Jan. 8, and also a chance of rain later in the week.

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