While communities along the Atlantic continue to evacuate, Kentucky utility crews are driving into Hurricane Dorian’s path.
Four Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. crews set off Tuesday for Florida to join Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Corp. in Hilliard, a town near Jacksonville.
Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas on Sunday as a Category 5 storm, with torrential rains and winds up to 185 mph. As of Tuesday night, the death toll was seven people. The storm has lessened to a Category 2 storm, but officials still expect dangerous winds over 100 mph to impact the U.S. coast along with heavy damage.
The crews will help repair any damage to the electrical infrastructure, such as replacing poles, and ultimately restore power in areas affected by the storm, which could cause downed trees, downed power lines, debris and flooding.
“Whatever is needed, that’s what they’ll be doing,” said Kim Phelps, spokeswoman for WRECC.
Kentucky Electric Cooperatives has sent more than 100 lineworkers from 13 of its cooperatives to areas expected to be impacted by the hurricane.
In the past couple years, WRECC has been recruited by the statewide association to assist with Tropical Storm Irma, Winter Storm Riley and Hurricane Michael. The utility also assists with storms within the state.
“It’s not just the big storms in the news,” Phelps said. “Anytime we are able, we are always willing to help. Cooperation among cooperatives is part of our mission.”
WRECC sent a dozen lineworkers to contend with this latest storm. They’ll remain in Florida until the situation, or at least the electrical grid, has stabilized, according to Phelps.
But the utility still has plenty enough workers to cover routine maintenance and emergencies.
Bowling Green Municipal Utilities is on a hurricane standby list.