Resources from across Southern Company continued work to safely restore customers’ electricity Thursday after Hurricane Sally thrashed the northern Gulf Coast a day earlier, causing electric-service disruptions for hundreds of thousands of system customers.
Even with challenging conditions preventing crews from working in some areas and limiting the ability to fully assess damage, service had already been restored to more than half of those who experienced a disruption from the powerful storm. Workers put Safety First at all times and are following coronavirus protocols to respond safely during the pandemic.
Staging areas were being established to support restoration and workers were setting about the hard work of getting the lights back on for communities where it was safe to do so. Conditions in many areas, however, were still not safe for workers to restore service.
Alabama took the brunt of the Category 2 storm’s wrath after Sally made landfall in the predawn hours Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Ala. More than 660,000 Alabama Power customers were affected – mostly in the Mobile area. As of 11 a.m. CDT Thursday, around 136,000 Alabama Power customers were without service.
Georgia Power’s restoration efforts began overnight and continue today after Sally’s remnants made their way across the state and left approximately 28,000 customers without power as of 11 a.m. EDT.
Mississippi Power by Wednesday evening had restored service to the around 7,300 customers impacted by Sally who could safely receive power. With that work complete, Mississippi Power crews repositioned themselves in Alabama to aid in the recovery there. Teams from Georgia Power also were helping respond to the devastation.
A Georgia Power storm team of some 500 teammates and native contractors were dispatched to Alabama as soon as conditions were safe to travel. Mississippi Power resources rendering aid to their brothers and sisters in Alabama included 190 company employees and native contractors.
Alabama Power is coordinating within the Southern Company system and utilities through the Southeastern Electric Exchange for additional personnel to aid efforts. Approximately 4,000 resources are expected to be on the ground throughout the restoration process.
Additional resources from across the Southern Company system are coming together in the response.
Supply Chain Management sent storm response kits to Alabama staging sites and is transferring 125 transformers to the Mobile area to help in the recovery.
A crew of 15 Southern Linc employees was positioned on the Gulf Coast. Linc’s control center monitored the wireless provider’s network as Sally came ashore and prioritized dispatches for field technicians to safely visit and repair sites. Linc is continuing to work with operating company storm centers and ensuring LTE network coverage is available where needed. It is also coordinating with NextEra’s Gulf Power and public safety customers to ensure their wireless-communications coverage needs are met.
Sally – the eighth named storm to make landfall so far in this year’s Atlantic hurricane season –inched across Alabama and into Georgia as a tropical storm. It further weakened to a tropical depression as it continued its path toward the Carolinas. Despite losing strength, flooding remained a concern as the storm continued to dump a deluge of rain.
This was the second hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in less than three weeks. Sally made landfall in coastal Alabama at 4:45 a.m. Wednesday with sustained winds of 105 mph. The storm’s torrential rain caused severe flooding and destruction in communities along the Gulf Coast and further inland. Saturated ground combined with heavy winds toppled trees and contributed to widespread power outages.
The response to Sally comes just weeks after the Southern Company system helped restore power to millions following Hurricane Laura, Tropical Storm Isaias and a violent derecho wind event that tore through the Midwest.