A number of Floridians are now making their way into New Orleans and surrounding areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which has millions without power and an unknown number of people dealing with flooding, severe storm damage and other perils. The storm is still raging, now near Jackson, Mississippi with wind gusts surging above the 60mph, taking out powerlines and anything else in its path.
Prior to the storm, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, who also serves as the state’s Chief Fire Marshall, announced two elite search and rescue teams were headed to Louisiana, but today, Patronis announced a third team had also been dispatched. Hundreds of personnel are involved in the effort, bringing with them everything they need to be self-sufficient for up to two weeks. Their gear includes hazmat suits and equipment, search and rescue dogs, even forklifts and small boats.
“Hurricane Ida made landfall…near Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 storm. Central Florida Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 4 is preparing to deploy to Louisiana,” Patronis said, “to provide assistance in the aftermath of the storm. They are equipped with swift water boats and water rescue equipment that is crucial to aid these communities with what is expected to be extreme flooding and life-threatening storm surge.”
Meanwhile, Florida’s public and investor-owned utilities are sending people and equipment to help restore power to the millions now in sweltering heat and humidity. The Florida Municipal Electric Association said it was sending 85 workers and their equipment to the area.
Florida Power and Light is sending a team of more than 750 employees and contractors to assist two Louisiana utilities with their restoration efforts. According to a press release from FPL, the workers began their journey Sunday morning.
“As Floridians who have faced dangerous hurricanes like Andrew and Michael before, we understand how critical it is to have support from other utilities during restoration events,” said FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy. “Just as our neighboring utilities have come to Florida to support us, we will be there for our brothers and sisters in need, getting their communities back up and running safely. Hurricane Ida is a very dangerous storm. Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the storm’s path.”