Power companies prepare ahead of Hurricane Michael

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Now that Tropical Storm Michael has been upgraded to a hurricane, our local power companies are preparing for the damage expected to come with it.

Maximum sustained winds are at 75 miles per hour, and officials say Michael's strength is only expected to keep growing.

East Mississippi Electric Power Association's communications director says right now, they're monitoring the situation to see what kind of response is needed. Julie Boles says they're ready to send crews to help if necessary.

"When we have a storm in the gulf, we just closely monitor that," she says. "We have crews on standby. We have resources ready and available so that we are ready to hit the ground running should we need to respond to outages in our area."

Mississippi Power is sending nearly 100 employees to assist in the Michael restoration effort. They'll depart from service centers in Meridian, Hattiesburg and Gulfport Tuesday.

Officials with Southern Pine Electric Power Association say they'll be ready if needed.

Michael is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.