In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicted 14 to 23 named storms, 8 to 14 hurricanes with 3 to 7 of them falling in to the ‘major hurricane’ category for the 2010 season. “Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30,” says Reed Cooper, manager of engineering for Horry Electric. “It’s typically fairly quiet the first few months, but we can always count on activity picking up in late August.”
So far this season, we’ve seen Hurricane Alex, Tropical Storms Bonnie and Colin. Hurricane Danielle is spinning out there as a category 4 storm and, according to The Weather Channel, ” Tropical Storm Earl is likely to become a Hurricane by Sunday.”
“We’ve also learned that another wave has moved off the coast of Africa and, if it develops, it will be Tropical Storm or Hurricane Fiona,” says Cooper. “It’s definitely time for us to be completely tuned in to all tropical weather alerts and, given the predictions, we’ll be tuned in all the way through October and into November.”
“The NOAA and our local meteorologists are our primary sources for information at Horry Electric Cooperative,” says Cooper, noting that the NOAA recently updated their predictions for the rest of the season. “They’re telling us now that we can expect 14 to 20 named storms, 8 to 12 hurricanes with the possibility of 4 to 6 of those being a Category 3, 4 or 5.”
That prediction, according to the NOAA website, is for the entire Atlantic Basin from June 1 to November 30. “Hurricane Alex, Tropical Storm Bonnie, Tropical Storm Colin, Hurricane Danielle and Tropical Storm Earl are included in that total,” says Cooper. “We’re up to five as of today.”
“Although no forecast is certain, the early reports tell us we need to keep a close eye on the tropics,” says James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of the cooperative. “There’s always a chance some of these storms could become major hurricanes and there’s always a possibility our members and communities will be impacted.”
“Just as we urge our members to be ready, we’re also prepared at Horry Electric Cooperative,” says W.I. Jones, manager of operations for the cooperative. “We have a detailed plan for dealing with the aftermath of a major storm and that includes keeping our members and the media informed throughout the restoration process.”
Members are asked to remember that, in the event of a major outage, they need to call PowerTouch, the cooperative’s automated power outage reporting system at 843.369.2212. “After, of course, you’ve checked fuses or circuit breakers in your home to make sure they aren’t the source of the problem,” says Jones.
Members are also asked to remember that the process of restoring power could take time. “We need their patience and understanding,” says Jones.
In the event of a major outage, crews work around the clock until all power is restored. “We start at the substations, work out way through the main feeder lines, then focus on the taps off of the main feeder lines and then individual service drops,” says Jones.
To make sure members are fully prepared and know what to expect when it comes to power outages, the cooperative provides information online at horryelectric.com. “Our complete guide to power outages includes information on how PowerTouch, our automated Outage Reporting System works; repairs members need to make to restore service; safety information for before, during and after a storm, as well as answers to some questions we often get asked during a power outage,” says Howle.
“All any of us can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” says Howle.
Additional online materials provided by Horry Electric Cooperative to help members prepare: