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Here's the latest stories and resources on the 2020 Jonesboro tornado that occurred on March 28.

City Water and Light, Craighead Electric Coop Crews Restores Power After Saturday's Storm


For KASU News, I’m Johnathan Reaves.  Crews with City Water and Light and Craighead Electric Cooperative have been working around the clock to get power back to those who could take it…that as a result of Saturday’s EF3 tornado that ripped through parts of Jonesboro.  Special Projects Manager Kevan Inboden tells about some of the damage that was caused.

“We had a wide variety of damage, such as steel transmission poles near the Mall of Turtle Creek that were down as a result of the tornado,” said Inboden.  “Some substations had some minor damage, but there were a lot of distribution power lines down.  We even had some underground electrical facilities that were damaged.  They were damaged when buildings were blown off their foundations, causing underground cables to be pulled through the ground and pulled junction boxes and transformers as well.”

After the tornado, crews from City Water and Light started getting to work to get critical lines back up to Jonesboro’s hospitals, nursing homes, and to those who have medical equipment that need power first.  He says the areas that suffered the least damage had power restored Saturday night.  Those areas that had the most damage were worked on around the clock by crews from Jonesboro, Paragould, West Memphis, North Little Rock and other outside contractors to form 15 work crews that were around the city doing difficult work.

“I want to complement our employees.  When times like this happen, they step into another gear and they work many, many hours in tough conditions around high voltage power lines and they have to be careful and safe.”

He also thanks the many customers for their patience and understanding during that time. 

“We talked to many customers and a lot of them were wondering how they could help us,” said Inboden.  “They offered food or equipment to try to help the workers.  We really appreciate the customers’ patience and understanding during this process.”

Kevan Inboden with City Water and Light.  Craighead Electric Cooperative also sustained damage from the Jonesboro tornado near Farville Curve.  Vice President of Marketing and Communications Monty Williams say they caught the edge of the tornado. 

“Mainly it hit us in the Farville Curve area, Busch Ag, and Gambill Homes.  It went toward Brookland and then along Highway 412, east of Paragould,” said Williams.  “We had approximately 600 members who were without power.  We were able to get a lot of those member back on through back-feeding our circuit and isolating our substation.”   

He gives an update on the substation at Farville Curve.

“The substation did not suffer a direct hit, but there was a lot of debris in the area,” said Williams.  “They are doing a lot of testing and hope to have that up and going Thursday.”

Williams says the storm knocked over at least 50 poles and crews from Craighead Electric were out with contractors to get the power back on.  Both Williams and Imboden say it will take a couple of weeks to totally fix the damage left behind by Saturday’s tornado.  For KASU News, I’m Johnathan Reaves. 

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.