Missouri utility workers head to Florida for Hurricane Michael cleanup


Missouri based Boone Electric Cooperative and City of Columbia Utilities are sending lineworkers to Florida to help with repairs following Hurricane Michael.

According to the Missourian, Columbia sent one line crew and four utility vehicles Tuesday to Tallahassee, Florida, while Boone Electric sent eight linemen and four trucks Wednesday to Quincy, Florida.

Michael made landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane on Wednesday afternoon, bringing with it a storm surge and over 150-mph winds.

Boone Electric states that Missouri cooperatives have sent a total of 123 lineworkers from 23 state cooperatives to Quincy.

The Columbia crew is part of an additional 50 lineworkers and 25 pieces of equipment that the Missouri Public Utility Alliance is sending to Tallahassee, according to a news release from the city.

This is the second time this fall Missouri electric cooperatives have sent crews to help hurricane relief endeavors. In September, Missouri sent 162 electric workers to South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence, as noted in previous Missourian reporting.

Once in Florida, the lineworkers will assist the crew of Talquin Electric Cooperation, said Rhonda Proctor, communications specialist for Boone Electric.

Talquin Electric is a nonprofit electric distribution cooperative headquartered in Quincy, according to their website. They serve a 2,600 square mile area within four counties.

“Plans are in place, and Talquin is prepared to receive 500 additional personnel who have offered to assist with power restoration,” said Tracy Bensley, general manager of Talquin Electric, in the Boone Electric press release.

Powerful Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle with terrifying winds of 155 mph Wednesday, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods before continuing its destructive march inland across the Southeast.

It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly 50 years and at least one death was reported during its passage.

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Category 4 storm crashed ashore near Mexico Beach. After it ravaged the Panhandle, Michael entered south Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane — the most powerful in recorded history for that part of the neighboring state.