TAMPA, FL. - Tampa Electric Crews are on a ferry to the Bahamas.
20 linemen are going to help restore power on the islands that have been in the dark since Hurricane Matthew.
75% of Grand Bahama Island is without power as of Friday morning. That means homes, hotels and businesses have been in the dark for more than two weeks. Restoring all power on the island could take another 6 weeks.
Tampa Electric is sending 5 bucket trucks and tons of supplies on the ferry over to the Bahamas.
Hurricane Matthew hit the islands as a category 4 storm and battered homes, tore off roofs, and picked up and threw hundreds of power poles across the tropical island. In the aftermath of the storm, not a single residence or business had power.
Damage is so severe that in some areas, the electrical system is being rebuilt from the ground up.
It'll be strenuous work for the Tampa crews headed there today. They'll be working 16-hour days doing extremely difficult work.
“Especially since it is on an island and it is isolated from the mainland, it makes it really difficult even for us to get all the materials over there. If we run out, we have to get another ferry to bring us more supplies. We have to work with different materials over there like coral. There are several challenges,” TECO lineman Skipper Flowers explained.
Tampa electric crews plan to stay on the island for at least 2 weeks. They could send another relief crew after that.
So many of us Floridians visit the Bahamas for vacation. Right now most of the major resorts are still closed, though some have slowly started to begin accepting guests again. Others don't plan to open until next month.
Officials at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism estimate a loss of $1.8 million in revenue from cruise ships that were diverted to other destinations during Matthew.
Many homes and businesses in the West End of Grand Bahama were destroyed, and the storm impacted thousands of people.
“We know these people are devastated. Their whole lives have been upset and their belongings destroyed. We are happy to help them out and we know they will be delighted to see more of us coming in to help bring the power back,” Flowers added with a grin.
(© 2017 WTSP)