Over 100 Mississippians with Entergy Mississippi are on their way to the East Coast to help restore power following anticipated widespread damage by Hurricane Florence.
Included in that number are two Clevelanders, who are not being named right now, said Cheryl Comans, Entergy customer service representative in Cleveland.
She said they will be on standby and as close as is safe so when Florence hits they can swoop in and begin repairs.
Among the crew being sent are 90 distribution line workers and support help (50 Entergy employees and 40 contract workers) and 12 scouts.
Entergy Mississippi crews are assigned to South Carolina Electric and Gas Co.
Additionally, should tropical storms affect the Entergy region, the company has the ability to call back crews to assist with restoration work.
The help comes as part of a long-standing mutual assistance agreement by which utilities help one another out in times of need. When requested by a utility company, Entergy operating companies will send what workers they can spare while keeping enough at home to meet the day-to-day needs of Entergy customers.
The National Hurricane Center and computer models have shifted the forecast track for Hurricane Florence noticeably to the south and west, but it doesn’t mean northern North Carolina, Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states are in the clear.
The official track has Florence hovering off the southern North Carolina coast from Thursday night until landfall Saturday morning or so, then veering south through South Carolina and Georgia into Monday.
Meteorology director Jeff Masters at the private Weather Underground says Florence will come “roaring up to the coast Thursday night.”
If these projections hold, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy says “it’s exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge.” McNoldy says “the rainfall has been and continues to be a very substantial threat over the entire area.”
Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was imperative locals heed the evacuation warnings.
He says the time to flee Hurricane Florence is now. Landfall was expected sometime late Thursday and FEMA officials said Wednesday was the last day for people to get out safely.
“Today’s the day,” he said. “It’s time for our citizens to be a part of the team. Heed those warnings and evacuate if you’re in one of the zones.”
Byard told a news conference at FEMA headquarters in Washington that the agency has all the resources it needs to react to the natural disaster.
As of 8 a.m. today, Florence, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm, was centered 530 miles (855 kilometers) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph). It was packing winds of 130 mph (215 kph) and enough moisture to dump feet of rain on the region.
Steady streams of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone on North Carolina’s coast to flee.
“The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster,” he said.
President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid. He said the federal government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for Florence.
All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast. But getting out of harm’s way has proved difficult since airlines were canceling flights and motorists had a hard time finding fuel.
Florence is the most dangerous of three tropical systems in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.
The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet (2.75 meters) of water in spots, projections showed. The Navy, Air Force and Army were moving ships and aircraft out of harm’s way. Thousands of Marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit.
Florence’s projected path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in huge lagoons.
Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier said operators would begin shutting down nuclear plants at least two hours before hurricane-force winds arrive.
Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to approximately 449,000 customers in 45 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power.
Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees.