Operations

Public Agencies Respond to Hurricane Matthew

October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew moved close to the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina this weekend, making landfall on Oct. 8 southeast of McClellanville, S.C., as a Category 1 hurricane. These areas experienced heavy rain, flooding, and high winds, and the storm’s death toll in the U.S. has climbed to at least 21, the New York Times reported.

Local and state government agencies are working to clear roads, restore power, and rescue stranded residents.

On Oct. 8, the Georgia Governor’s Office reported that state Department of Transportation crews are working to check, clear, and repair roads and bridges. The priority is to clear interstates and state routes first and then support local governments clearing debris.

The City of Savannah, Ga., experienced two minor sewage spills related to the heavy rains. It canceled garbage collection for Monday and plans to resume on Tuesday on a modified holiday schedule. Utility crews are working to restore electrical services to all areas of the city.

There is no fuel in the Savannah area, and residents returning home were advised to fill their tanks before returning, Savannah Now reported.

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott was thankful the Hurricane stayed off the coast. However, many residents are without power, with Flagler County experiencing a 27% outage, Duval County a 20% outage, and Volusia County a 15% outage as of today. A release from the governor’s office said fuel is available, and all ports have reopened and are resuming fuel delivery.

Florida Power and Light worked with partner utilities and contractors to restore power to most of its service area. When restoration is complete, it plans to send personnel to help neighbor utilities in Florida and other parts of the Southeast that were affected.

The City of Jacksonville (Fla.) Public Works department worked during the weekend to address stormwater-related issues, tree issues, and malfunctioning traffic signals. The city also said it would deploy an increased number of street sweepers from Oct. 9 to Oct. 15.

N.C.-based Duke Energy reported Sunday that it restored power to 600,000 customers, with another 550,000 outages remaining in North and South Carolina. It has set up three "base camps" where crews will eat, sleep, obtain assignments, and restock vehicles. The utility has 5,800 line workers, tree crews, damage assessors, and support people in the field, with additional personnel coming from other utilities.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory stated that record flooding continues to impact inland communities. More than 1,400 people have been saved by swift water rescue teams and many more are expected throughout today.

Floodwaters rapidly rose overnight in Lumberton, N.C., stranding nearly 1,500 residents. Helicopters, boats, and swift water rescue teams were deployed to the area to get people to safety, including teams from FEMA and other states, according to the governor. More than 600 North Carolina National Guard troops and nearly 200 high water and rescue vehicles have been activated.

South Carolina lifted its evacuation orders for its last two counties this morning, allowing all residents in the state to return home. The governor’s office stated that even though weather conditions have improved, motorists should prepare for fallen trees, downed power lines, and standing water in and around roadways. Citizens also should anticipate power outages at their homes or businesses.

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