FPL tests storm readiness with virtual hurricane drill

With both the devastation from Superstorm Sandy still in people’s minds and hurricane season approaching, Florida Power & Light Co. 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 and outage restoration.

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.

As 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.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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