Thank you for answering the call
You’ve seen the pictures of the damage from Florence and Michael. You’ve heard the stories.
While FPL had our own challenges to deal with this hurricane season, they paled in comparison to what was no doubt an extremely lengthy and laborious recovery effort for our neighbors in the Florida Panhandle and Southeast.
The peak of hurricane season (August through October) brought two blockbuster storms to what was forecast to be a lackluster year. Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 14 as a Category 1. Less than a month later, Michael quickly formed and made landfall in the Panhandle of Florida just shy of a Category 5. These names will undoubtedly be retired by the World Meteorological Organization due to their impact on the U.S. After all, Michael has made a lasting impact on the Panhandle and will be talked about for decades. It is to them what Hurricane Andrew was to Miami-Dade County in 1992.
FPL crews moving out of the Jupiter Service Center for Hurricane Michael in Jupiter, Fla. on October 10, 2018.
Multiple FPL crews hang new wire off State Road 71 in Altha, Florida following Hurricane Michael.
I was humbled to be part of the more than 1,000 FPL employees and contractors who assisted in getting life back to normal for the residents affected by the storms and saw the damage firsthand. I can tell you it was worse in person. In North Carolina after Florence, downed trees and power lines were entangled. Flood waters were up to the rooflines of homes and businesses. You could smell the stagnant water in the air. In Georgia and Florida after Michael, you saw houses completely off their foundation. You could see clearly into the living rooms of other homes that were still standing. Metal transmission power poles were snapped like twigs, and thousands of trees were broken midway up. It looked as if a buzz saw had gone through. Yet, residents were grateful and appreciative for what they had, much like the residents of Puerto Rico were while our 300 employees and 500 contractors helped to restore power to the island earlier this year in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
We understand what our fellow energy companies and their customers go through in the aftermath of a hurricane. We have recovered from catastrophic storms in the past, such as Hurricanes Andrew, Charley, Wilma and Irma, and understand that the restoration and rebuilding process can be lengthy and challenging. We’ve been helped in the past, too. Just last year, thousands of energy workers from 30 states and Canada played a critical role in the restoration of more than 4.4 million FPL customers following Hurricane Irma. We’re always happy to return the favor.
We thank all of our employees and contractors who answered the call this year and left their families to get life back to normal for others. It’s not an easy thing to do. Many missed a child’s birthday, or an anniversary, just to help others in need. Your hard work and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed.