In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, municipal utility line crews from Missouri and Arkansas are preparing to depart for Florida to perform recovery work.

Forty-six utility workers from nine cities in Missouri and one city in Arkansas will set out Saturday for Orlando to prepare to respond to likely power outages after the storm passes, Missouri Public Utility Alliance Public Information Officer Kerry Cordray said on Friday. 

Lineworker crews from Rolla, Poplar Bluff, Odessa, Independence, Hermann, Higginsville, Hannibal, Columbia, Carthage in addition to Conway, Arkansas will travel to an Orlando staging site, with 11 bucket trucks, six digger trucks, 14 other vehicles and aerial photography drones, ready to restore power to municipal utilities in areas affected by the storm in Florida.

Crews are expected to arrive in Orlando on Monday, Cordray says, where they will join public power utility crews from roughly 20 states, who will assist in the work.

Florida public power utilities are bracing for the arrival of Dorian on Labor Day, with the storm expected to strengthen to a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on Florida’s east cost. 

Florida Municipal Electric Association personnel began coordinating efforts early this week, lining up assistance from the Missouri Public Utility Alliance and public power agencies and utilities that participate in a national mutual aid network, Cordray says.

Missouri Public Utility Alliance’s mutual aid network coordinated the response with participating crews from public power electric utilities, not-for-profit community-owned electric utilities, who serve their individual cities but also have agreement in place allowing staff to assist neighboring communities and states.

Cordray says, there have been lineworker crews from 14 municipal utilities in Missouri that have responded nine times in the past years to calls from their neighboring communities to aid in recovery efforts from power outages after winter storms, tornadoes or high winds. Several times in recent years, Missouri and Arkansas cities in the network have also traveled to assist with hurricane recovery in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Municipal utilities participating in Municipal Public Utility Alliance’s mutual aid network are reimbursed by the utilities receiving assistance. Nationally, mutual aid agreements organized through the American Public Power Association link more than 2,000 public power and rural electric cooperatives that help each other in times of need, Cordray says.