Restoration and recovery efforts continue following the devastation that Hurricane Michael brought to the Florida panhandle, and Mississippi continues to play a vital role.
In response to the storm, several companies and departments mobilized resources and workers to the area as many were without power and communities were torn apart from the storm.
Mississippi Power’s 100-man team was sent to the Panama City area where they have begun to support their sister utility, Gulf Power, in their restoration efforts over the past several days. Engineer and storm team leader Kris Williams said that while they’ve been able to make progress in restoring power to the area, the destruction is wide-spread.
“The damage really is devastating,” he said. “The hurricane pretty much took every pole, every line and laid them on the ground. A lot of businesses and houses have been destroyed from what we’ve seen.”
Williams said that they’re number one priority was getting power back to the Gulf Coast Hospital, which has been accomplished. Since then, they’ve also been able to repair around 120 poles in the area. Williams said that there may be as many as 1,000 downed poles in the area, along with additional wiring.
Along with Mississippi Power, Southern Pine Electric, Entergy Mississippi, the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, and MEMA have all sent help to the affected areas.
- Southern Pine Electric sent 19 employees to work with an electric cooperative in either Alabama or Florida to restore power to those affected.
- Entergy has dispatched 125 contractor lineman plus support staff to the area to assist with power restoration.
- The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security deployed two search-and-rescue teams which are made up of 42 members.
- The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency sent two staff members to the Florida State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee to support response and recovery to Hurricane Michael. MEMA Area Coordinator Tina Reed and MEMA Planner Austin Cunningham comprised the EMAC A-Team which will be deployed for two weeks.