PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – It's the biggest need for a hurricane and sometimes the hardest to meet: electricity.
More than a week after Hurricane Michael, the Florida Panhandle crashed on a path of destruction As far as the Georgia border, more than 100,000 Florida customers were still out of power, according to the State Department of Emergency Management website.
Martha Reynolds sat in front of her mother's humid home with relatives on Friday, including several small children in a low-income city in Panama City. Electricity has been cut off since the day Michael struck.
Candles and flashlights provide light after dark, she said, and they leave a generator at night to provide air conditioning that cools four adults and five children.
We try to eat from the grill and hold as much ice as possible, "she said." We all look at each other, we're all here, so it's a blessing. "
A few streets farther on Justin Ward's family under a canopy set up under a shady tree in front of their hot, powerless people
"We can do it. The power supply is over on a road. It's supposed to be here tomorrow, "he said.
While more than half of the failures are in Bay County, where the storm lay between the coasts of Mexico's Beach and Panama City, the counties had a higher percentage of people without electricity for eight days after the storm, including the Calhoun district, where 86 percent of the local electricity cooperative's customers did not have electricity.
"We try to make sure they understand how far the damage is spread and that we use all the resources we have just get it on as fast as you can, "said Jeff Rogers, a spokesman for Gulf Power, which serves most of Bay County and seven other districts in the region, it's not Calhoun." This was an unprecedented storm. "
And it's not an easy problem to solve quickly: in Bay County alone, thousands of electricity pylons were knocked down or halved like toothpicks or were thrown to the ground like spaghetti.
Many transmission towers ̵
Multiple substations were damaged, and there were countless broken links to individual homes.
New electricity pylons and pipes are rapidly gaining in a visible sign of progress.
Long queues of commercial vehicles meander through Panama City streets every morning on their way to areas where the service is still off. Workers who were in custody of nine trucks in detention only walked one street on Thursday and the same scene repeated countless times every day.
Rogers said that many of Gulf Power's power sources – solar, gas and coal power plants – are located outside of the US Storm region, so power is available once transmission lines, substations and power poles and lines are repaired. It will only be about switching a switch.
One week after the storm, Gulf Power had replaced 5,600 pylons, a process that can take up to 10 minutes or more depending on the mast's damage, as well as trees and debris that could make access to it more difficult, said Rogers.
Gulf Power has approximately 1,200 employees working on power restoration, supplemented by 6,200 people from 15 states who helped out.
But even far from the hurricane-damaged coast, the northern counties fought. In Jackson County, along the Georgia-Alabama border, over 80 percent of customers were out of power a week after the storm.
"Our power grid is completely destroyed," said Rodney Andreasen, county emergency management manager. "At the moment, our greatest need is to get electricity back." Energy generation. [RogerRogerssaid"OnemajorproblemisthatpeoplegetusedtodeadpowerlineslyingonthefloororlyinginfrontofhousesIftheserviceisrestoredtheselinescouldbedeadly
Said that there were families in Lynn Haven using power lines in front of their damaged homes as a makeshift clothesline, he said, "Oh my god, that's a bit scary, just stay away."
"We're starting to get involved, and people become complacent after being around them for a while, "he said. "It was a week without electricity and you get used to not being vigilant."