Hurricane Irma, now a tropical storm, doesn’t damage hydro plants

Good news: Hurricane Irma, downgraded to a tropical storm this morning, appears to not have negatively affected any dams or hydro plants in the region.

On its way to the southeastern U.S., Hurricane Irma hit Cuba late on Friday, Sept. 8, as a Category 5 storm. Ten people were killed.

It weakened to a Category 3 storm on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Hurricane Irma mad landfall in the Florida Keys the morning of Sunday, Sept. 10, as a Category 4 storm. It then moved up the west coast of the state, weakening to a Category 2 storm.

It was downgraded to a Category 1 storm early on Monday, Sept. 11, when it hit the Tampa Bay region. It is now downgraded to a tropical storm but continues to affect the southeastern U.S.

Utilities such as Florida Power & Light and Georgia Power have responded to service outages, many attributable to broken transmission poles and lines.

Florida Power & Light said on Sunday, Sept. 10, that “Despite Irma’s exceedingly high winds, tornadic activity, storm surge and severe flooding, FPL has restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers, due largely to automation along its energy grid.” However, “We expect the west coast to be the hardest-hit area, requiring an extensive rebuild of our energy grid,” said Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of FPL. The company does not own any hydro plants, but it has shown interest in the past in sourcing electricity from ocean current and hydroelectric projects.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, more than 180,000 Georgia Power customers were without electricity. Georgia Power owns a total of 37 generating facilities, 19 of these hydropower plants. The hydro facilities are primarily located in the northern and western parts of the state.

If any additional information becomes available with regard to hydroelectric facilities or dams affected by the storm, we will update you on HydroWorld.com.

This is the second major storm event to hit the U.S. in recent weeks, with Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas in late August.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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