The spaghetti models for the latest Hurricane Matthew forecast are all over the place, but one thing is clear: It’s coming to Florida, and SECO Energy members will feel effects of the storm on Thursday and Friday.
Per the National Hurricane Center’s 5 pm forecast, Hurricane Matthew is moving northwest at 12 mph. On this track, Matthew will move across the Bahamas tonight and tomorrow, and is expected to be near Florida’s east coast tomorrow night. Strengthening is forecasted during the next couple of days, and Matthew is expected to remain at a Category 3 or stronger while it moves through the Bahamas and approaches Florida.
The forecasted path of Matthew is a parallel track on Florida’s east coast – but models are mixed now in reference to how close the eye will come to Florida’s shores and where it will head after it passes the northern part of the state. What is certain is Central Florida residents east of I-75 will likely experience rain bands and strong tropical-storm-force wind gusts with damage potential. This means power outages – some perhaps long in duration.
SECO encourages its members to report outages using their smartphones or tablets through our online Storm Center application at SECOEnergy.com. It’s easy to report simply by using the last name on the account and the house number. Members can contact SECO via Facebook and Twitter, as details about outages are always posted to these platforms.
For those less tech savvy, members can always call and talk to a member service rep (or use the prompts to report the outage by phone at (800) 732 6141. SECO’s System Operations Center is manned 24/7, and our call centers are also manned 24/7 when severe weather comes through – as will be the case as Hurricane Matthew approaches. Downed power lines can be reported by phone too – but a member who suspects immediate danger should call 911.
SECO is Storm Ready with a comprehensive emergency response plan that determines the system’s restoration priority of each affected feeder. Essential services such as shelters, hospitals, schools and government agencies are the highest priority. Next, line personnel make repairs that will restore power to large groups of members and then repairs begin on individual electric services in less populated areas. SECO has called for additional line crews and tree trimming contractors to respond quickly to outages caused by Hurricane Matthew.
For members who need continuous power for medical devices, please know that Hurricane Matthew may be the cause of prolonged outages during and after the storm hits. If you are a SECO member who requires uninterrupted service and you do not have a back-up source of power to operate a medically necessary device, now is the time to act as SECO cannot guarantee continuous service during a severe storm event. Shelters are opening in the SECO area Thursday. Contact the emergency operations center (EOC) in the county where you live and inquire about available shelters in your area. Below is the contact information for the EOCs by county:
- Sumter County 352-689-4400 or visit their website for more information.
- Lake County 352-343-9420 or visit their website for more information.
- Marion County Citizen’s Info line is open 352-369-7500 or visit their website for more information.
- Citrus County 352-527-2106 or 352-746-5470 or visit their website or more information.
- Levy County 352-486-5213 or visit their website for more information.
- Hernando County 352-754-4083 or 352-754-4111 or visit their website for more information.
- Pasco County 727-847-8137 or visit their website for more information.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, SECO is dedicated to being members’ first source for accurate storm information. Learn more at SECOEnergy.com.