JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With both the devastation from Super Storm Sandy still fresh in people's minds and hurricane season fast approaching, Florida Power & Light Company today began its annual, weeklong hurricane drill in Palm Beach County. Employees began responding to Virtual Hurricane Sheryl – a Category 3 Storm – to test FPL's hurricane readiness, restoration and recovery.
Thousands of employees from across FPL are participating in the annual emergency response and restoration drill, which continues through Friday, May 3. The company-wide drill is centered at FPL's Physical Distribution Center and Category 5 Command Center located in Riviera Beach, Fla., and taking place at FPL service centers and other facilities throughout the state.
"Sandy was a clear reminder of our duty to keep looking for ways to make our infrastructure stronger and to keep getting better at restoring power after a major storm hits," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "Even though we haven't had a direct hit from a hurricane in nearly eight years, we have had to respond to a number of storms. That's why we test our storm plan so vigorously and are preparing for a storm every day there is not one."Virtual Hurricane SherylAs part of this year's drill, employees are responding to Sheryl, a virtual Category 3 hurricane expected to make landfall near Cape Coral, Fla. The "virtual" storm will make landfall on Wednesday, May 1, and cross the state before exiting near Port St. Lucie that night. Starting May 2, the drill's focus will shift to post-storm restoration. The last two days of the drill will simulate post-storm restoration activities. The added emphasis on post-storm activities is a result of what utilities faced in the aftermath of Sandy and will include how we work with out-of-state crews and flooding. During the simulation, employees will track outages, assess damage, communicate with customers and employees and initiate service restoration. They will also test the company's storm plans and tactics, and apply lessons learned from previous hurricanes and other extreme weather events. Additionally, to make this simulation as real as possible, FPL will generate damage estimates for the fictional scenario based on scientific computer models the company has built from decades of storm data.