By Gilbert Nicholson, Alabama News Center
While blue skies and gentle, late-summer breezes are predicted for Alabama this week, Alabama Power line crews are mobilizing to help restore power from what is expected to be a devastating hurricane on the East Coast.
Some APC employees Tuesday this afternoon, with plans to stage safely near the coast as Hurricane Florence approaches.
Florence is a Category 4 storm predicted to hit somewhere between South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday, and linger on the coast until Sunday before moving inland. The result could be massive power outages and historic flooding. The severity of the storm may cause more than just downed lines and poles, as some critical infrastructure may have to be rebuilt.
An anticipated 250 to 350 linemen are expected to help Duke Energy crews restore power. Other Alabama Power crews will be prepared to assist if necessary. The company will balance employee availability to ensure the reliability of electric power in Alabama.
Alabama Power is in the thick of planning to provide line crew help for states affected by Hurricane Florence. Power Delivery Distribution Engineering Services Manager Bobby Hawthorne chairs the Mutual Assistance Committee of the Southeastern Electric Exchange. SEE is a trade association of 56 investor-owned electric utilities from Texas to Pennsylvania that coordinates getting members to help each other restore power during significant outages.
Alabama Power officials have been in SEE discussions for several days as plans have been formulated.