Rain Saturates Area Early Saturday

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People in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley awoke early Saturday (Dec. 21) either to a pre-dawn thunderstorm or to heavy rain.

By 6:30 a.m., an overnight ice-storm warning remained in place in Benton County, and a freezing rain advisory was in effect in Washington County, said Joe Pennington, 5NEWS meteorologist.

In Oklahoma, the central and eastern parts of the state experienced freezing rain Friday night and Saturday morning or had a light glaze on roadways from overnight precipitation, Pennington said.

Farther east in Arkansas, some trees and power lines were coated with ice early Saturday, said Jocelyne Pruna, 5NEWS reporter.

Ozark Electric Cooperative reported 27 customers were without power east of Fayetteville early Saturday. Southwestern Electric Power Company reported 239 outages early Saturday in Polk County.

Much of the rainfall in the region had not turned into freezing rain by early Saturday, however, with temperatures above freezing in many places, including 34 degrees in Fayetteville and Bentonville at about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Overnight rain left measurable amounts throughout the region, including three inches in Mena and more than an inch and a half in Fort Smith and Fayetteville, Pennington said. Minor flooding was reported early Saturday in Van Buren.

Saturday marked the first day of winter.

Wintry conditions in other parts of the country led to flight delays or cancellations in and out of Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on Saturday, according to the XNA website. For instance, a United flight from Newark, N.J., scheduled to arrive at 10:57 a.m. was delayed. Early morning departures to Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago were either canceled or delayed.

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