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LES crews head to Florida's east coast as hurricane approaches

Source: 
The Lincoln Journal Star

Sep. 2--Lincoln Electric System is sending crews to Florida after all.

The power company said it received a request Sunday night for mutual aid from the Utilities Commission in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, to deal with possible effects from Hurricane Dorian.

New Smyrna Beach is a city of about 27,000 people on Florida's east coast, about 15 miles south of Daytona Beach.

LES said 14 workers and eight vehicles left Lincoln at 8 a.m. Monday. They were accompanied by six workers and three vehicles from Grand Island Utilities and were expected to reach New Smyrna Beach on Wednesday.

"Our crews are deploying to assist in power restoration for communities in (Dorian's) path," Dan Pudenz, LES' vice president of energy delivery, said in a news release. Pudenz said it was possible LES and Grand Island crews could be redeployed to other areas as needed depending on the track of the hurricane.

LES originally had planned to send crews to Tallahassee, Florida, in the northwest part of the state, until the projected path of the hurricane changed and the request for mutual aid there was canceled.

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Dorian hit the Bahamas on Sunday as a Category 5 storm and was downgraded to a Category 4 on Monday morning. It is expected to turn north and skirt Florida's east coast Tuesday. Some areas along the coast could still experience hurricane-force winds and dangerous storm surge.

Volusia County, where New Smyrna Beach is located, is one of several counties in the state under an evacuation order.

Nebraska Task Force 1, the Urban Search and Rescue team that includes Lincoln Fire and Rescue personnel, also had been scheduled to go to Tallahassee, but it instead went to Jacksonville, where it arrived on Sunday.

The task force currently is training and preparing with other urban search and rescue teams employees from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Workers from Nebraska Public Power District arrived in Orlando on Sunday as scheduled.

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(c)2019 Lincoln Journal Star, Neb.

Visit Lincoln Journal Star, Neb. at www.journalstar.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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