JEA Sends Crews With Flood Pumps To Panhandle To Assist With Sally Recovery

Sep 16, 2020

JEA is sending 30 people to the Florida Panhandle to assist with Hurricane Sally recovery.

Because of the heavy flooding that has already started, the state Emergency Management Division requested JEA’s assistance, which Hai Vu, JEA's interim general manager of water/wastewater systems, said is unusual.

“It tells me that the Panhandle, Pensacola, Escambia County, are expecting a lot of flooding issues that need to be addressed immediately," Vu said.

Twelve 6-inch pumps have been deployed to the area from JEA’s Pearl Street Service Center. JEA’s crews  will start work later Wednesday or as soon as it is safe to do so following the storm's passing.

The team was expected to arrive in Escambia County Wednesday afternoon.

Vu said he is concerned about the added risk of COVID-19 but has been assured all safety measures are in place.

“They will keep social distancing, and they will continue to sanitize,” he said.

The turnaround window from getting the call to leaving Jacksonville was quick.

“We got the request late last night, and just less than 12 hours, we were able to everybody, to get all the assets together, and the full support of the JEA team,” Vu said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Sally’s landfall for the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington.

At the time of this story’s publication, Hurricane Sandy was dumping what the National Hurricane Center said was “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” along portions of the north-central Gulf Coast.

See the WJCT weather page for the latest storm conditions and Jacksonville area forecast.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.