ATLANTA - The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins Thursday. NOAA predicts up to nine hurricanes with one to four causing mass devastation.
Nine out 10 major power outages in the U.S. are caused by hurricanes. Since the turn of the century, no other region across the country has been impacted more by weather-related power outages than the Southeast.
FOX 5 got a rare tour Georgia Power's Storm Center to see how they are gearing up for this hurricane season.
From 2000 to 2021, the weather-weary southeast experienced 474 major power outages, all caused by Mother Nature.
While Georgia has one of the shortest coastlines, it's no stranger to the force of wind and water brought on by tropical storms and hurricanes.
Ryan Poole is the Storm Center Operations Manager at Georgia Power.
"We serve roughly 2.7 million customers across our state," Pool.
He gave FOX 5 a rare look inside the utility company’s natural disaster command post.
"As we prepare for events, typically four to five days in advance for major hurricanes, we’re staffing the storm center," said Poole.
While tracking the weather is top of mind, tracking their employees and their crews across the state is really what this command center is all about.
"We’ll set up what we call base camps or staging sites, we’ll house crews, they will shower there, they will use the restroom there, they will eat there, they will get their materials there, they will re-fuel trucks there. It’s really what we call a mini-city to a degree," said Poole.
FOX 5 went behind the scenes of the Georgia Power Storm Center to see how they are preparing for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. (FOX 5)
This part of the process is called pre-staging, and it happens before many of us see or feel the impact of the storm.
"We monitor winds, wind fields associated with a hurricane. Where that track is, what the timing of the track is. We do our best to pre-stage our folks and our equipment to make sure we can quickly respond when it’s safe to do so," Poole said.
Customers can monitor that response in real-time on the Outage Map section of their website. It shows where the outages are and when they expect the power to be restored.
"Every storm is different. The forecast changes and we need to pivot to take. We try to learn from every event," said Poole.
Plaques highlighting the team’s recovery efforts over the years line the storm center from 2018’s Hurricane Michael to 2020’s Hurricane Isaias.
While every landfalling storm doesn't have a widespread impact on Georgia’s power grid, Georgia Power crews are still hard at work lending a helping hand to our hard-hit neighbors across state lines through "mutual assistance."
"It allows us to partner with other utilities [companies] to both provide resources if they need and certainly, if our system is impacted to be able to bring in resources to respond to our customers," said Poole.
For more information visit the Georgia Power website.