Tampa Electric (TECO) is sending help to Louisiana as the state braces for impact from Hurricane Ida.
With the Category 4 storm set to strike the state Sunday, TECO has sent 150 workers to help restore power to affected communities.
According to a release sent from the company Sunday morning, around 50 TECO line workers and support personnel began driving to Louisiana and are set to arrive Monday. They’ll assist Cleco Power in Slidell, Louisiana.
In addition, 100 contractors also began traveling to the state Sunday to help Cleco Power and Entergy Louisiana.
Hurricane Ida is expected to make landfall in the afternoon or early evening in Louisiana Sunday. Exactly 16 years ago, on Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hammered the state, causing massive devastation and flooding in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. At least 1,800 people died following Katrina’s impact.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned residents the storm’s strike could be severe. “This will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” Edwards said Saturday.
Katrina famously broke Louisiana’s levee system back in 2005. Officials have reinforced those defenses since, and Gov. Edwards did say he expects those levees to withstand Ida’s impact.
Still, after Ida strengthened into a Category 4 storm Sunday morning, it’s now threatening to do severe damage to the region. Many residents have evacuated after officials began issuing evacuation orders. Others remain stuck in the storm’s path, either by choice or due to lack of resources.
Power companies in Louisiana have already warned outages could last for weeks. Sunday’s release from TECO said crews are prepared to remain in the state to offer assistance for at least two weeks.
TECO was recently called into action when Tropical Storm Elsa brushed along Florida’s Gulf Coast last month. More than 15,000 people lost power, though most customers’ services were restored within a day.