Distribution Repairs Through Hurricanes Florence and Michael
This quarter Irby crews were presented with the ultimate test as they worked tirelessly to restore power following Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. These storms were destructive and dangerous but gave Irby the opportunity to once again, turn the lights back on and help those affected feel some sense of normalcy after enduring a natural disaster.
Hurricane Florence was the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and quickly formed into a Category 4, hitting its peak intensity with 140 mph winds southeast of Bermuda on September 10th. Florence made landfall as a Category 1 just south of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14th, weakening as it made its way inland. Despite its fall from a Category 4 to a 1 by landfall, the wind speed caused massive destruction and power outages to the Carolinas.
Irby immediately sent 72 linemen to restore power in South Carolina for Duke Energy and South Carolina Electric and Gas. For two weeks, the crews endured the harsh conditions of Florence, and they got the job done safely.
Hurricane Michael formed in the Caribbean in early October and was declared a major hurricane on October 9th. At peak intensity on October 10th, Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 with 155 mph winds, the largest storm to hit the panhandle.
Irby crews were once again prepared to face the destruction of yet another natural disaster. At our peak, 288 Irby linemen were working for various companies such as Gulf Power in Pensacola, Duke Energy in Ocala, Florida Power and Light in Lake City. Our crews were scattered throughout the Panhandle as well. This is a dangerous but vital job in the modern world. We are proud to be a part of a company that serves communities nation and worldwide, no matter what the risk or circumstances.
Robert Nixon, an Irby Service Technician, worked on Hurricane Florence for several days. Nixon, Irby General Superintendent Jon Pigott and Vice President of Operations Tim Henry cooked Boston butt, brisket and all the fixings for the Irby crews. On October 23rd, as storm work was wrapping up for Irby crews in Florida, Pigott drove the meals down to the crews for them to enjoy.
“These conditions are not ideal, but the guys are willing to go out there and get the job done,” Pigott said. “I want the guys to know that we appreciate the work that they do for Irby, especially on the storm. They are away from their families, working long, tough hours. We want them to know that we know how much that means to us.”