Hurricane Michael Leaves Nearly All of Tallahassee without Power

October 12, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

When residents of Tallahassee, Florida awoke yesterday morning, they were greeted with a typical sunny Florida morning – except nearly 100 percent of the city had lost power thanks to Hurricane Michael, which passed through the area on Wednesday, leaving behind a wake of destruction. 

The extent of the damage, including downed trees and wires blocking more than 100 roads, slowed repairs significantly, despite the city having aid from hundreds of line workers and tree trimmers.  Further complicating the repair process was the fact the many lines were damaged in multiple places, each of which have to be repaired before power can be restored to those customers.

While the outages and other damage was worse than what the city experienced with Hurricane Hermine in 2016, based on outages and other damage, City Manager Reese Goad believes total restoration time could be significantly less thanks to increased preparedness by residents and city officials, first responders, and utilities.  During an update on Wednesday evening, Goad said that despite Michael being one of the worst storms the city has experienced by historical standards, it could have been worse.

“I think we were very prepared as a community – our residents were prepared, the government was prepared,” he said.  “We were bracing for the very worst and as we compare this to historical storms, I think it will be one of the worst that we’ve had.  Was it as bad as it could have been?  I don’t think it was.”

While as of this morning, more than three-quarters of the city’s utility customers were still without power, and Goad indicated there was no official estimate on complete power restoration, officials are hopeful to have 90 percent of the city up and running by the end of the weekend.

Businesses may have additional challenges to face.  Restaurants and other food service related businesses face significant losses due to spoilage, and any business may find its technology and systems damaged by the outages.  Systems typically experience power surges at the point of outage as well as restoration – though spikes and surges can happen at any time, with or without and outage.  Those surges can break tiny circuits in equipment and render them inoperable.  While the down time due to a week or more of a power outage can harm business revenues, the repair and replacement of systems can result in major expenses and even more downtime. 

The simple answer for businesses is to invest in a power protection system.  While they won’t prevent an outage – though their UPS capabilities can provide various levels of extended runtime – they will ensure servers, switches, communications systems, and other technology are secure from electrical damage and that business can resume normally once power is restored.

Edited by Erik Linask