Utility Workers Prepare For Hurricane Michael Aftermath
Utility workers are staged throughout the state to help with power restoration in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
Michael made landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle around 1:30 pm, with maximum sustained winds reaching 155 mph.
The National Weather Service in Tallahassee issued its first ever Extreme Wind Warning, meaning they were expecting wind gusts over 130 mph.
Power outages are affecting thousands of customers according to the city’s outage map.
21 Orlando Utilities Commission workers and 17 trucks were sent to Tallahassee on Tuesday. OUC spokesperson Tim Trudell said resources are positioned so that they can be rapidly deployed to areas with large-scale power outages.
“Remember 2017, Hurricane Irma, we had hundreds of resources from 17 states here helping us out, riding out the storm, making sure our customers were restored quickly. In this case, we are happy to return the favor,” Trudell said.
Depending on the course of the storm, OUC may send resources farther west up the Panhandle.
Florida Power & Light is also ready to respond, positioning more than 3,000 employees and contractors at staging sites in Daytona, Sarasota, and Lake City. FPL spokesperson Bill Orlove said the company anticipates that 125,000 of its customers will be impacted by power outages.
“We know how important it is for everybody to get their lights back on. Our crews are going to be working nonstop to make sure that happens, but we want to make sure that our customers stay safe now and after the storm passes,” said Orlove.
Orlove cautioned people to avoid downed power lines and flooded areas following the storm.
The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to move northeast across the southeastern United States through Thursday night, and then move off the coast away from the US on Friday.