Farewell Florence, we knew ye enough in S.C.

Farewell Florence, we knew ye enough in S.C.

Farewell Florence, we knew ye enough in S.C.

One of the things the public doesn’t ever see is the time and effort electric utilities prepare for a hurricane. Santee Cooper is no exception.

Last week we had numerous meetings at many levels of management. From the generating stations, to the transmission system to the distribution system that brings power to your home or business, Santee Cooper got ready. We have a plan, we work it and hope and pray for the best.

I say without qualification that we were as prepared for Hurricane Florence as any storm in our history. We had equipment and personnel lined up, including contract crews and crews from other utilities who were poised to respond to any electrical eventuality that Florence would bring.

We get ready, and then there’s the waiting game. We wait and wait it seems. We try to guess when and where it will make landfall. Would it be the Outer Banks? Would it be Myrtle Beach? Would it be Charleston? Would it destroy? Would it rain incessantly?

Friday morning at 7:15 a.m., Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C. With winds around 90 mph, the storm slowed considerably and then meandered toward Santee Cooper’s direct-serve service territory of Horry, Georgetown and Berkeley counties.

While we continue to deal with flooding in Horry County, particularly Conway and Loris where we have customers, we were largely spared the issues that our friends in North Carolina experienced. Our thoughts and prayers go toward them and to everyone dealing with the flooding and aftermath of Florence.

WCSC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Charleston, had a telethon today, Sept. 19, to assist flood victims. I believe this is a time to be generous. A slight deviation to the south, it could have been another TV station having a telethon for us.

Santee Cooper quickly responded to restore power to the 50,310 outages that peaked the morning of Sept. 15. By Monday morning, about 40 customers were the only ones left without power. Kudos to our crews.

While many may fault officials for ordering evacuations, school closings and big-box retailers shutting down, the abundance of caution paid dividends. Stay vigilant. Keep your hurricane preparation drill fresh in your minds. After all, we’ve still got about two and a half months before hurricane season ends.

Author Willard Strong

Willard Strong

Willard joined Corporate Communications in 1989 after a four-year stint as a features reporter at The Post and Courier. A 1981 graduate of USC’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Kingstree native has served as news director at three radio stations, was editor of the weekly newspaper in Moncks Corner and is chairman of the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center Board of Directors. A boating enthusiast, he enjoys Gamecock football, lake life on Lake Marion’s Wyboo Creek and keeping his five guitars in tune.