BENBROOK (CBSDFW.COM) – As the country keeps a close eye on Hurricane Dorian, North Texas is lending a hand… including dozens of workers from Oncor.
Crews loaded up and headed for Florida Friday morning. Their goal is to get in place and be prepared when the storm makes landfall and will no doubt cause power outages.
“We have more than 100 employees and contractors that are rolling out today,” Oncor spokesperson Kerri Dunn told CBS 11 News in a live interview. “They’re going to be arriving in Tampa late tomorrow and hunkering down, [waiting] for that storm to pass.”
Dunn said it is an advantage to have workers prepositioned ahead of time so they can begin restoration work as soon as it is safe for them to be outdoors.
As of Friday morning Dorian had strengthened to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, but is expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane later in the day.
As it stands, Dorian could make landfall Monday evening at the earliest and Tuesday morning at the latest — possibly as a Category 4 storm.
“We do know that this hurricane has the potential to be severe and damaging,” Dunn said. “We’re encouraging Floridians to be prepared, but we want them to know that their neighbors from Texas are on the way and we’re gonna do everything we can to help them.”
This isn’t the first time North Texas workers with Oncor have taken time to help other states. Oncor workers responded when wildfires broke out in California, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, and when tornados touched down in North Carolina.
Dunn said, “And in return we’ve had our partners come to us as well… I think may people remember in early June we had some very severe storms impact the area. Eleven different states sent help to us, to help restore our power. So it’s an honor to be able to return that service now.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expanded the state of emergency he’d already declared to cover all counties in the state and the government of the Bahamas issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern part of the chain.
American Red Cross workers in North Texas are also lending a hand. Adriana Arbelaez, with the American Red Cross, told CBS 11, “Eight trucks full of supplies emergency supplies and sheltering supplies and also we have sent 10 volunteers.”
As it stands, the Oncor crews from North Texas are prepared to stay in Florida for up to two weeks.