PPL sends work­ers, trucks, and equip­ment to Florida be­fore hur­ri­cane

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Stephanie Si­gafoos

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.

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