WALTON COUNTY, GA – (Sept. 26, 2022) – With the former Tropical Storm Ian now a hurricane, officials are keeping a close eye on its development and assessing its impact between now the end of the weekend. While the west coast of Florida is in line to take the brunt of its force, Georgia is likely to to feel the effects in some way. Local officials are on alert just in case help is needed, either locally or in neighboring Florida. Emergency crews from local utility companies are often sent to devastated areas in neighboring states.
“Our crews are on standby for Monroe first, then once all-clear is given here we will mobilize to assist other ECG Member Cities (Electric Cities of Georgia) as needed or assist others communities of need in Georgia or Florida where GEMA/FEMA directs most need in either state,” said Monroe City Administrator Logan Propes. “We have such a small crew we need to remain home to ensure all of our needs are taken care of first.”
Greg Brooks, communications communicator from Walton EMC, confirmed that the same applies in their case.
“I guess you can say we’re on permanent standby. The different statewide electric co-op trade organizations coordinate aid. Unless we get hit ourselves, our crews will go if the Florida co-ops request assistance.,” he said. “Their statewide will contact our statewide. Our statewide will ask us how many crews we can send and then tell them which co-op to report to. This eliminates having to go through a new mutual aid agreement process for each storm and also prevents each individual co-op from having to find their own assistance.”
Crews are sent where their skills are most needed. As a communications expert, Brooks also has been to other EMCs during hurricanes to help them with their communication and PR needs. Brooks was on a National Weather Service webinar earlier this afternoon to stay on top of the current situation.
“They said it’s too early to tell what the storm will do. As you know, a slight change in the track can make a huge difference in the severity of the storm,” he said. “We hopefully should have a pretty clear picture by Wednesday.”
Below is the latest update from the National Hurricane Center as of 5 p.m. Monday afternoon via Twitter. More information is available on the National Hurricane Center twitter feed.