As Dorian shifts, I&M crews adapt

Power company linemen work to restore power after a tornado hit Emerald Isle, N.C., as Hurricane Dorian moved up the East Coast on Thursday.

Utility crews from northeast Indiana were adjusting Thursday as Hurricane Dorian raged up the East Coast, cutting power to more than 200,000 customers in its path. 

The reported power losses were mainly in South Carolina, where officials were also watching water levels in the state’s largest city of Charleston, which is home to more than 130,000 people.

Already in place to help recover are 160 Indiana Michigan Power employees and contractors, including some from Elkhart County, who traveled to Florida over the weekend and have now spread to the Carolinas as well.

“It’s still riding up the coast right now, so we’re still waiting it out to see exactly what we’re going to have to do to help respond in the aftermath, said I&M communications consultant Schnee Garrett.

A majority of I&M staff remains in Florida, Garrett said, while some are in a staging area in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We’re always ready and willing to respond to any power outages, whether that’s here at home or to help our brothers and sisters down in Florida or the Carolinas or Georgia, or anywhere in the country,” Garrett said.

She said getting power back is an important step in recovering from a storm and returning to normalcy.

As it is unclear exactly how the hurricane will behave, I&M doesn’t know how long its crews will remain on the East Coast. I&M reported sending more than 350 employees and contractors to the hurricane-affected areas, but the company has readjusted as Hurricane Dorian has changed its course and power.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus

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