JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of Duke Energy utility crews arrived Wednesday morning at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, where they staged for deployment Thursday morning in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
The powerful Category 4 storm barreled ashore Wednesday afternoon with 155 mph winds.
Duke Energy representatives said they expect 200,000 households to be without power after the storm blows through.
Duke Energy crews from Texas and the Midwest have come in to help restore power. The utility is deploying 7,000 crews throughout Florida.
Northeast Florida residents at grocery stores and gas stations said Wednesday that they were preparing just in case the power outages reach Jacksonville.
“I always worry, and I just pray it will be OK,” Cayla Emplaeo said. “Luckily, Jacksonville has been very fortunate. You never know. I’m just hoping for the best.”
Duke Energy is warning customers that it may take some time to assess damage.
“We always say our No. 1 concern during a storm is actually safety,” said Ana Gibbs, with Duke Energy. “We ask our customers to remain safe during a storm. Obviously, for us, that means downed power lines. Please stay away from downed power lines.”
The utility deploys assessment crews to determine what they’ll need when the linemen start work on restoring power. As always in these events, patience is appreciated, officials said.