A Hurricane’s Effect on Electricity

Nov 6, 2012

Hurricanes are one of Nature’s most deadliest and destructive storms. After a storm hits, power crews throughout the region rush to the affected area to assist with repairing storm damage. Although we are only half way through the Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1st- November 30th, the United States has already experienced over $4 billion worth of damage from this season’s storms. One of the most physically damaging aspects associated with hurricanes is the amount of flying debris, which demolishes buildings, severs power lines, and eliminates power for millions of people.

Here are some facts that illustrate the amount of destruction a hurricane can cause:

  • -Over 1 million residential homes lost power due to Hurricane Isaac
  • -Hurricane Issac flooded 32 substations and demolished 60 transmission lines
  • -12,000 electrical workers were deployed in the aftermath of Issac
  • -Hurricane Katrina caused over $80 billion in damages, making it the most expensive natural disaster in history
  • -Florida Power & Light had to replace 930 miles of overhead distribution conductor, 570 miles of overhead service conductor, 1.1 million overhead splices, and 12,632 distribution poles after the 2005 hurricane season
  • -During Katrina, Mississippi Power sustained damage to over 65% of its   transmission and distribution system (approximately 6,000 miles of power line)
  • -181 power lines and 263 substations were out of service due to Hurricane   Katrina
  •  -Hurricane Ike caused over 7.5 million power outages

Due to the amount of devastation that hurricanes can create, electrical utility companies have detailed plans in place for such occurrences. Electrical utilities work to restore the main power plants first, followed by transmission lines, substations, emergency responders, large service areas, and individual homes.

How have hurricanes affected your personal residence? What do you do to prepare for an upcoming storm?