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Co-op monitoring projected path of Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew is on track to impact the east coast of Florida late Thursday. Hurricane Matthew currently has winds of 120 mph and the National Hurricane Center says it could strengthen again before reaching the U.S. On this projected path, Clay Electric Cooperative’s service area will experience gusty winds, heavy rainfall and lightning, which could cause power outages.

Clay Electric urges its members to monitor the progress of this storm as it moves northward along the coast of Florida. Members should review their storm preparations and supplies. Those members who depend on electric-powered equipment to maintain health should have an alternate source of power available or consider relocating to an area where power has not been interrupted by the storm. Members located in flood-prone areas should have an evacuation plan in mind.

Clay Electric personnel are monitoring the storm's projected path and the possibility the storm could grow in strength as it nears the coast. The co-op has an emergency operations plan which ensures that supplies and personnel are in place and that damage assessments and restoration efforts will get underway as soon as possible. Clay Electric has already requested assistance from other cooperatives and contract crews to help with restoration efforts once the storm subsides. At present, Clay expects more than 200 outside construction personnel to assist with restoration efforts, plus more than 90 outside right-of-way personnel.

“We encourage our members to take this storm seriously, and monitor its projected path, since this will determine how much damage will occur,” said Wayne Mattox, manager of the co-op's Communications Division. “It’s very likely our service area will experience periods of severe weather, gusty winds and heavy rain. If our service area experiences hurricane or tropical storm force winds, it’s very likely some of our members could see outages that might last several days. Our crews will begin restoration efforts as soon as it’s safe to do so."

To report an outage, members are encouraged to go to Clay Electric’s website. Members can report an outage by calling 888-434-9844, but this line may be busy due to the volume of calls expected.

A Power Outage map is available on the cooperative’s website which shows the number of outages by county and district.

Storm preparedness tips are also available at clayelectric.com.