QUINCY, Fla. — Missouri line workers from the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) who’ve been sent to the Sunshine State to help Floridians impacted by Hurricane Michael are encountering brutal conditions.
AMEC spokesman Jim McCarty tells Missourinet the 123 Missouri line workers who are in Quincy, Florida had to use their chainsaws for more than three hours Friday, just to clear roads to get to Talquin Electric headquarters near Tallahassee.
Florida Governor Rick Scott says it’s the worst storm to ever hit the Panhandle, and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson tells CNN it’s the “worst destruction that the Panhandle has seen for however long that I’ve been living. It’s akin to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 where everything was leveled.”
McCarty notes the Talquin Electric Cooperative was near the center of the massive storm.
He notes Talquin sustained severe damage to its distribution and transmission lines, which are complicating power restoration efforts.
“At the height of the outages, 98 percent of Talquin members were without power. Talquin’s infrastructure has sustained comprehensive damage – approximately 1,000 broken poles and numerous downed wires – throughout the entire service territory, that will lead to extended restoration times,” Talquin Electric wrote on its Facebook page.
McCarty also notes that the Quincy area has numerous trees, which were tossed into lines by Hurricane Michael. He says photos from the scene “show a tangle of wire, broken poles and trees that will have to be cleared before lines can be replaced.”
The 123 linemen represent 23 Missouri cooperatives. Linemen from as far away as Osage Valley Electric Cooperative in western Missouri’s Butler and Tri-County Electric Cooperative in northeast Missouri’s Lancaster are in Florida.
McCarty is still requesting prayers for the workers, noting they are seeing damage that is much more extensive than South Carolina in September. He also notes crews are on the lookout for alligators.