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Missouri crews respond to Hurricane Michael aftermath

Responders with two Columbia-based organizations on Thursday helped victims during the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. (Photo Courtesy Boone County Fire Protection District)

Responders with two Columbia-based organizations on Thursday helped victims during the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Eight Boone Electric Cooperative linemen traveled through Alabama as they headed to the devastation in Florida. Boone County linemen reported storm debris blocking roads had them behind schedule. The linemen from Boone County were 8 of 123 linemen from Missouri responding to the hurricane aftermath. Linemen from 14 states helped repair more than 4,000 miles of downed power lines with more than 49,000 customers without power.

“The debris causes more of a problem for the workers to get the line back up and running than most anything else. Sometimes, it’s not about getting the materials there," Boone Electric Cooperative spokeswoman Meredith Hoenes said. "It’s really about getting the debris out of the way so that the linemen can work safely, or in our case, get to the location.”

Twenty members of Missouri’s search and rescue team also responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Florida. Sixteen Missouri Task Force 1 responders were in Panama City, Florida, performing swift water rescues. The other four members were in Pensacola, Florida, helping manage FEMA resources.

“You can have flooding in neighborhoods and subdivisions so people could be trapped on their roofs or in their attics like we found in Katrina and Hurricane Florence," Missouri Task Force 1 spokesman Gale Blomenkamp said. "Certain communities could be cut off because of flood waters and, or road damage.”

Blomenkamp said Missouri Task Force 1 responders tried to rescue people from their homes and vehicles.

The average deployment of Missouri Task Force 1 lasts 14 days. Recently during Hurricane Florence, the deployment lasted 19 days. Task force officials said they have no idea how long they will stay in Florida.

Blomenkamp said the aftermath of Hurricane Michael had more wind damage than flooding problems.

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