Weather

Georgia Power watching the forecast closely this hurricane season

The Atlantic Hurricane Season occurs every year between June 1 and November 30.

While Metro Atlanta is located well inland, tropical systems still bring damaging winds and torrential rainfall this far north -- leaving many without power in the wake of the storms.

This is why Georgia Power constantly monitors the weather forecasts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Adrienne Tickle, a spokesperson for Georgia Power, says the company is ready to take action whenever Georgia is in a storm’s path.

“When we’re at this stage, when there is a forecasted tropical storm or hurricane coming in, then we are making our plans. We are collaborating.”

“We’re looking at where we need to send our crews, where we can stage them to be ready to respond as soon as the storm passes and it’s safely for them to do so.”

With stronger storms, they bring in outside resources. The extra help diminishes the wait time for power and electricity.

In 2018, after Hurricane Michael moved through Florida as well as Georgia, Tickle says, “we had about 95 percent of those customers restored within 4 days.”

During the Atlantic Hurricane Season, Georgia Power continues to monitor the storm’s path in order to place crews in the right locations to help recovery efforts after the storm. Georgia Power Spokesperson Adrienne Tickle explains how the utility company preps ahead of a tropical system. 🌀 ⚡️

Posted by Christina Edwards on Wednesday, June 29, 2022

But the work to restore power begins well before the storm arrives.

Corey Hitchcock is the UAS program lead for the Southern Company, of which Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary. UAS stands for “unmanned aerial system” -- also known as a drone.

“Since 2016, Southern Company and Georgia Power have been using drones in the Hurricane Restoration Effort. Initially, it was a specialized group of people that were taught to go out and operate drones. What we wound up doing and found more beneficial was putting a drone like this in the subject matter expert’s hand.”

“What we have done is we have trained 174 pilots within Southern Company -- that’s Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power -- and these pilots take these drones and are using them in their normal, every day patrols now.”

“So we fly drones before [a storm] for standard inspection, and after the storm to look for any deviations or changes in what our original data was that we captured.”

“If we have a problem with a powerline and we need to get that on fast, and there is some other boundary or limiting factor from the regulatory environment, the FAA will give us relief from that, so we can potentially fly beyond line of site, we can fly in controlled air space that we would otherwise be unable to with the permission and blessing of the FAA in what’s called the Special Governmental Interest Program.”

It’s all in an effort to get the lights back on and the power flowing to aid in the post-storm recovery process within a community.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Adrienne Tickle says, “Our customers are our top priority. If something is impacting Georgia, we’re going to ensure all of our customers are back on. We’ve restored that power, we’ve made those repairs. And then, we do have the opportunity to help our sister companies, who are part of the Southern Company system, or those outside utilities, through a mutual assistance organization.”

To learn more about Georgia Power’s Storm Center and to report a Power Outage, visit GeorgiaPower.com.

UAS Sidebar: Monitoring Storm Damage

Corey Hitchcock, UAS program lead for the Southern Company, provided a tour of one of the drones used by the Southern Company, including Georgia Power.

Corey Hitchcock, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Lead for the Southern Company, provided a tour of one of the drones used by the Southern Company, including Georgia Power.

Posted by Christina Edwards on Wednesday, June 29, 2022

“This is a Skyfront Perimeter 8, this is a large UAS, still falls under a Part 107 in that the maximum gross takeoff weight is 55 pounds.”

“From the front here -- you can see our payload, it’s a Phase One 100 megapixel camera using a 35 mm lens, that 35 mm lens allows us to capture wider angle shots, particularly for mapping. For inspection jobs, we use 80 mm lens.”

“Moving over here to our right, we’ve got our fuel tanks you can see up top. Those fuel tanks are 2 liters apiece, so we have one on each side. These 2 liter fuel tanks, with a combined 4 liters, allow us to fly for 3 hours while we are doing patrols and doing the work.”

“And over here on the back side is the business end of the drone, we have a two stroke electronically fuel injector engine that runs a generator that powers the aircraft, so we are not necessarily running directly off of battery, we are running off of the electromotive force of the generator providing lift to all of our props. If we were to lose one prop because of an emergency, the aircraft would still maintain controlled flight, and we would be able to recover with no problem. If our engine quits, we have two onboard batteries which would allow us to have 5 minutes of flight time to safely recover the aircraft.”

“We fly drones before [a storm] for standard inspection, and after the storm to look for any deviations or changes in what our original data was that we captured.”

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