I can’t stress enough, ahead of this coming storm, Irma, that you hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Gas up, have fresh batteries, fill jugs with water, have plenty of non-perishable food items on hand… whatever safeguards you can think of.
In 2016, when Hurricane Matthew swept through North Carolina, my family was not prepared. We didn’t take it seriously, to be honest. We ended up three days without most of the basics covered, and it was rough!
Now, we’re probably overprepared. At least, that’s the hope.
The “good” news (sort of) is that Irma is now a category 4, rather than a category 5, so it’s weakening. Pray, and pray hard that it continues to weaken.
The bad news is that Florida Power and Light are estimating millions of Floridians will feel the brunt of the powerful storm.
“Everyone in Florida will be impacted in some way by this storm,” Eric Silagy said at a news conference, urging FPL customers to be prepared for a multiweek restoration process.
FPL is the biggest power company in Florida serving almost half of the state’s 20.6 million residents.
Outages across the state will likely top 4.1 million customers since other utilities, including units of Duke Energy Corp, Southern Co and Emera Inc, will also suffer outages but have not yet estimated how many.
The nation is still reeling from Harvey, but for all the devastation we saw from that storm, Irma could prove more damaging to the power supply.
“This storm is unprecedented as far as strength and size. We are preparing for the worst and will likely have to rebuild parts of our service territory,” Silagy said, noting the kinds of winds expected could snap concrete poles.
Irma’s winds have rivaled the strongest for any hurricane in history in the Atlantic, whereas Harvey’s damage came from record rainfall. Even as Houston flooded, the power stayed on for most, allowing citizens to use TV and radio to stay apprised of danger, or social media to call for help.
Also, Irma will likely maintain its strength, once making landfall. Harvey, by comparison, began to weaken, even while dropping record rainfall.
Most Florida residents have not experienced a major storm since 2005, when total outages peaked around 3.6 million during Hurricane Wilma. Some of those outages lasted for weeks.
Setree compared the projected path of Irma to Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which knocked out power to about 1.2 million FPL customers in October.
FPL, a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc, restored service to most customers affected by Matthew in just two days.
Like I said, all the way up in North Carolina, my area was down for three days, and we were the fortunate ones.
Continue to be vigilant, and stay on top of this storm. The hope is that the day after, everyone wakes up, safe and well, and laughing about the great, big nothing that Irma turned out to be.
That’s the hope, but be sure to back that up beforehand with a lot of prayer and preparation.