PPL sends workers, trucks, and equipment to Florida before hurricane
As Hurricane Dorian gains strength in the Atlantic, PPL Electric Utilities mobilized workers in the Lehigh Valley and sent them to Florida.
Early Friday morning, workers, trucks and equipment left Allentown and headed south to support Florida Power and Light and Duke Energy Florida to respond to outages expected from Dorian. PPL planned to send more more than 40 people, including 36 line workers, from across PPL’s service territory. PPL said it expects the crews to arrive Saturday night.
In times of need, utility crews from the area are often called to help restore power in other regions as part of mutual assistance agreements. Most recently, PPL crews assisted PECO with outages in the Philadelphia area. Local crews also went to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria and went to Florida after Hurricane Irma.
“We are committed to doing our part to help the other utilities restore power,” said Greg Dudkin, president of PPL Electric Utilities. “When the opportunity arises to help another utility in need and we have the resources available, we will respond to that need. Mutual assistance is critical to helping restore power in situations like this.”
This latest deployment comes as Dorian strengthens. At 5 a.m. Friday, the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane watch was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, where the risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds has continued to increase. At 3:30 p.m., Dorian was a Category 3 hurricane, forecast to strengthen to a Category 4 over the weekend.
In its key messages for Dorian, the NHC said there is an increasing likelihood of a prolonged period of hazardous weather conditions that could last for a couple of days in parts of Florida early next week. Life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida East Coast has increased, along with the risk of devastating hurricane-force winds.
Dorian’s projected landfall has been pushed back to early Tuesday, as the storm has slowed. Beyond that, it’s still too early to determine its eventual evolution onshore over the Florida peninsula and where it heads next.
Meteorologists say the latest model runs of Dorian bring a tremendous amount of rainfall for basically every coastal community from Miami to North Carolina. Combined with storm surge and high new moon tides, some are saying it would cause a coastal flooding catastrophe.
As travelers scramble to leave Florida ahead of the storm, airports are assisting customers in re-booking flights.
On Thursday, Allegiant Air’s customer service said it was experiencing long hold times due to Hurricane Dorian and advised customers to reach out through chat, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Passengers changing travel plans due to the hurricane are urged to email hurri[email protected]legiantair.com with their itinerary number, phone number, and instructions on what they would like to do with their existing reservation.
Allegiant flies from Allentown nonstop to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando and the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg areas. On its website, a travel alert says scheduled service may be disrupted to and from Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg due to weather conditions.