Over 100,000 Florida homeowners and businesses are still without power more than a week after Hurricane Michael smashed into the Florida Panhandle on a path of destruction that led all the way to the Georgia border.
While more than half the outages are in Bay County where the storm came in between coastal
The area includes Calhoun County, where 86 per cent of customers of the local electric cooperative had no electricity.
Utility crews set up new poles and utility wires in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City during the week
Utility workers have been working around the clock to restore power to homes and businesses in Florida Panhandle
Jeff Rogers, a spokesman for Gulf Power told
‘It doesn’t serve Calhoun. This was an unprecedented storm’.
In Bay County, thousands of utility poles were blown down or snapped in half like toothpicks.
Power lines drooped over roadways or were tossed to the ground like piles of spaghetti.
Many transmission line towers – the enormous metal structures that bring electricity to substations that then route it into specific neighborhoods – were left in twisted piles or knocked to the ground.
Contract workers begin repairing damaged buildings and removing debris in Mexico Beach which was hit hard by Michael
James Whiddon looks over damage caused by Hurricane Michael which left his home badly damaged one week on
Contract workers begin repairing damaged buildings and removing debris at households in Mexico City
LeClaire Bryan, mother of country music artist Luke Bryan, places a sign she found on a pile of rubble left by Hurricane Michael near her home
Several power substations were damaged, and there were countless disrupted connections to individual homes.
New power poles and lines are going up quickly in a visible sign of progress.
Long lines of utility trucks snake through Panama City streets every morning on the way toward areas where service is still out.
Workers suspended in buckets from nine trucks strung lines along just one street on Thursday and the same scene was being repeated countless times each day.
A week after the storm, Gulf Power had replaced 5,600 utility poles, a process that can take as little as 10 minutes or much longer depending on damage to the pole as well as trees and debris that could make access to it more difficult, Rogers said.
Tracy Lachance and her dog stands at the back of her home which she believes was damaged beyond repair in Panama City
Nathan Donahue bathes with bottled water in the driveway of his aunt’s home in Panama City as they still don’t have power
John and Krystal Reardon prepare to leave Florida and drive to Kansas to stay with family in their fully-packed SUV
Chet Bundy stands in the kitchen of the trailer home he was in when Hurricane Michael passed through in Panama City
Cynthia Lamphier and Chet Bundy pose for a picture in their trailer home when it was destroyed by Hurricane Michael
Gulf Power has about 1,200 employees working on power restoration, supplemented by 6,200 people from 15 states who are helping out.
But even far from the hurricane-damaged coast, northern rural counties were also struggling. In Jackson County along the Georgia and Alabama borders, more than 80 percent of customers were without power a week after the storm.
‘Our electrical grid is totally destroyed,’ said Rodney Andreasen, the county emergency management director.
‘Right now our biggest need is getting power back on. Power regeneration’.
Rogers said one big concern is that people are getting used to dead power lines lying on the ground or drooped in front of homes. As service is restored, those lines could be deadly.
Told that there were families in Lynn Haven that were using power lines in front of their damaged houses as a makeshift clothes line, he said: ‘Oh my goodness. That’s a little scary. Just stay away.’
‘We’re starting to turn on and people get complacent after being around them a little bit, he said. It has been a week without power and you get kind of used to not being wary around them.’