Impacts to Lakeland: Hurricane Irma | 9/13 - 9 AM
LAKELAND, FL (September 13, 2017) – The Lakeland Emergency Operations Center has been fully manned since Sunday at 12 p.m. At the height of the storm, Lakeland experienced sustained winds in excess of 85 m.p.h. The impact due to Hurricane Irma is extensive with major tree canopy damage. We are now down to 23,000 of our 125,000 customers (18.4%) who are still without power. There were isolated reports of flooding, especially in low-lying areas that are prone to drainage issues. The storm brought heavy winds and rain to the area that has already experienced higher than normal rain levels.
Lakeland Electric reported that at the height of the storm there were 78,000 customers without power. As of 9 AM. today, that number has been reduced to 23,746.
Sixty-two major distribution circuits were out due to Hurricane Irma. As of this morning, all but 10 have been restored and the remaining feeders will be back on by the end of the day. Crews continue to work 16 hour shifts to restore power. There are line and tree crews assisting with power restoration from Oklahoma, North Carolina and Louisiana. North Carolina has 56-line crew personnel, there are 30-line crew personnel from Oklahoma and Louisiana has 50-line crew and 50 tree trimmers that are on the ground today. Priority is restoring power to the major distribution lines that are the backbone of the system.
There is serious tree damage throughout the City. There are assessment teams with boots on the ground now gathering information on total number of trees down. Immediately after the storm there was over 500 trees that hindered the right-of-way and blocked roadways. Parks & Recreation, Public Works, Community Development, Construction & Maintenance and Lakeland Electric has staff assessing and clearing the roadways from tree debris. The Florida Highway Patrol sent over 50 troopers to assist in cutting trees and restoring roadways. As of 9 a.m. this morning all trees have been removed from roadways except for about 20 and those will be removed by the end of the day.
Traffic Signals & Road Safety
At the height of the storm over 80% of the traffic signals in the City of Lakeland were without power. Those that were working did so on generator power. Motorist need to approach intersections with caution and are advised to consider an intersection that has a traffic signal that is out, be treated as a four-way stop. Priority has been made to restore power to all major roadways with traffic signals. There is still generator powering the most critical intersections and more traffic signals are coming online every hour of the day as power restoration continues.
Damage assessment teams have identified 1,943 homes, sheds and structures that have damage from Hurricane Irma, 731 of those are mobile homes. Assessment teams are continuing their duties today, travelling to every neighborhood in the City to identify storm related damage. The assessment teams estimate that their sweep of the City will be completed today.
City of Lakeland solid waste is clearing storm related debris today and will continue to do so through the week. Residential solid waste started today. Monday’s pickup is today. There will be no recycling pick-up this week. All trucks are being used to collect garbage and debris.
At this time, residents are asked to place any storm generated debris on the public right-of-way. The public right-of-way is the area of residential property that extends from the street to the sidewalk, ditch, utility pole or easement. DO NOT BAG DEBRIS. The City’s FEMA contractor will not pick-up bags. Bags will be one of the last items to be picked up and based on current debris levels, it could be weeks.
Keep vegetative debris – woody burnable debris, such as limbs and shrubbery – separated from construction and demolition debris, which will be collected separately. Bagged debris should not be placed on the public right-of-way, as only loose debris will be collected.
Any household hazardous waste, roof shingles or tires resulting from Hurricane Irma, may be eligible for removal and should be separated at the curb. Do not place debris near any water meter vault, fire hydrant, mailbox, or other above ground utility equipment.
Debris Placement & Schedule
Only debris placed on the public right-of-way will be eligible for collection until further notice. If all debris is not picked up during the initial pass, residents should continue to push remaining debris to the right-of-way for collection on subsequent passes. Household garbage collection (green containers only) will resume its normal schedule on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. Information and updates on the debris removal process will be posted on the City’s web site, lakelandgov.net, in the coming days.
There is a County-wide curfew that has been set in place during the early morning hours 12 AM – 5 AM. The curfew will be in place until further notice.