JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People across Florida and Georgia who were in Idalia’s path are picking through the pieces of the rubble where their homes once stood.
Jimmy Butler returned to find his Horseshoe Beach home had survived the storm, but many of his neighbors weren’t as lucky.
“It’s the worst storm we’ve ever been through. And we’re going to rebuild,” Butler said. “She’ll never be the same for me, you know? But we’ll rebuild and hopefully be ready for the next one that comes.”
Initial reports estimate it’ll cost between $12 billion and $20 billion to recover from all the damage. That’s a significantly smaller price tag, compared to other recent hurricanes. For example, Ian did more than $112 billion in damage.
Every JEA customer who lost power during the storm has had their electricity restored, and now local crews are headed to help people in South Georgia.
The crews left shortly after 5 a.m. Friday, and the plan is to first get to Waycross for a safety briefing Friday. From there, the next stop is to head to Valdosta, which appeared to show the most outages.
Electrical Coordinator Chris Richardson said the crews were coming from both the Westside and Southside service centers. This also includes groups of troubleshooters.
He said one of the biggest challenges for this type of mission is housing and any potential unseen dangers.
“We might keep the crews together and run into an area together. If it’s widespread, we’ll split off the crews and put a troubleshooter with each crew to help out. Like I said, all on the kind of damage we find,” Richardson said. “It’s mutual aid. It’s constant. We want to help them like they want to help us. You always put yourself out there. We like going out of town. We love helping people.”
Exactly how long the crews will be in Georgia has yet to be determined. Richardson said when they get there and assess the need, they’ll know more.