MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - On April 27, 2011, Alabama Power linemen and support staff were beginning the see the enormous job ahead of them: a mission to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people. It was by far not a routine restoration job or a quick fix.
It was 10 years ago that the tornadoes came in waves. There were 62 in all, the most ever recorded in a single day in Alabama.
And for Alabama Power, this would be anything but routine when it came to restoring the juice to more than 600,000 customers.
“So from a power company perspective, I’ve heard words such as ‘unprecedented.’” said Alabama Power spokesman Mike Jordan.
And to complicate matters, the storms threw more transmission lines out of service than ever before.
“Keep in mind some of these people that were restoring power, their homes had been damaged,” said Jordan.
But the cavalry arrived: 6,000 linemen from 22 states. Together, along with Alabama Power, they replaced 7,600 poles, 3,000 transformers and enough new power lines to stretch from Birmingham to Washington, D.C., well over 700 miles.
“We had all customers who could receive power restored within seven days, which was an incredible feat,” Jordan said.
Ten years later, Alabama has recovered and people have largely moved on. There were many lessons learned along the way. Among those lessons was the brevity of life.
“One of the real heartbreaking realizations that a lot of our power company’s crews, engineers, support personnel found there were no homes left to restore power to,” said Jordan.
The numbers and the memories will make sure the unforgotten tragedy will never be forgotten, but neither will Alabama’s resiliency and the very people who helped her recover.
In terms of power outage, Hurricane Ivan inflicted the greatest power outage for Alabama Power. but the April 27, 2011, storms caused the greatest damage to infrastructure for the power company.