Members of Entergy’s storm team are assessing damages and restoring power where it is safe to do so after Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning near Cameron as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, causing widespread damage to Entergy’s electrical system and knocking out power to customers across Louisiana and east Texas, according to a news release.

As of 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Entergy had 17,706 customer outages in Arkansas, which is slightly down from a peak of 18,086.

“We are seeing heavy damage in the southwest corner of the state with 50+ mph gust and very heavy rainfall creating flash flooding. Based on current damages – expect the outage counts to grow significantly,” according to the release.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, approximately 360,000 customers throughout Entergy’s service territories were without power. While restoration efforts are beginning behind Laura in Texas and Louisiana, additional outages are occurring as the powerful storm travels north into Arkansas. Laura brought storm surge, heavy rain and sustained winds of up to 145 mph when it made landfall along the Gulf Coast.

“In addition to responding to additional outages as Laura moves through the Entergy service area, our storm team will now begin the process of assessing damage, restoring power where it is safe to do so and executing the plan that brings electric service back to critical infrastructure and the largest number of customers the fastest,” said Eli Viamontes, Entergy’s vice president of utility distribution operations.

“This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, so we are asking that our customers be patient with us and other first responders as we work to recover safely. Although this storm situation is unique in many ways, we have been through this before and, together, we will get through it again.”

Entergy is continuing to add personnel to a restoration team of more than 13,000 that includes workers from 27 states either in our territory or on their way to the storm-ravaged areas. The company follows a methodical plan of power restoration that has proven effective during past storms.

First, crews concentrate on restoring power to critical community infrastructure and essential services such as hospitals, water treatment plants, police and fire stations and communication systems. Then, resources are directed to work that safely restores the greatest number of customers as quickly as possible.

Entergy urges customers to keep streets open for local emergency vehicles and workers as they begin to repair and rebuild portions of the electrical system. Additionally, crews will continue to practice social distancing and Entergy asks that customers do the same. For the safety of crews and all those involved, please stay away from work zones.