Last to get power restored put storm in perspective

Tallahassee linemen continuing to restore powerlines.
Photo courtesy of Tallahassee Democrat

In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, 97 percent of Tallahassee’s residents had power restored within five days of the Oct. 10 storm.

 With winds reaching up to 71 mph and strong rains raging through a city teeming with canopy roads, most power lines were not able to hold up.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the Category 4 storm left nearly 114,000 utility customers, or 97 percent, without power.

Two Tallahassee residents who were among the last to have their power restored offered their reactions to post-storm living conditions.

Quinn Stokes lives just five miles north of the Capitol in the forested area off of Hartsfield Road. The Tallahassee resident of 33 years was without power for seven days.

Stokes said he called the City of Tallahassee twice to be put on a waiting list behind the hundreds of other residents who also needed power.

Not having access to power for so long forced the Stokes family to spend extra money on canned goods and Kentucky Fried Chicken. “Unfortunately, we just went grocery shopping and lost everything,” said Stokes.

What stood out was Stokes’ indifference to the situation. “My story is the same as everyone else’s in Tallahassee,” Stokes said. Even though Stokes is an active pastor at Zion Missionary Baptist church in Madison County, the power being out has not stopped him from his ministry.

Unfortunately for those who have not resided in Tallahassee for so long, getting accustomed to life without power is challenging.

Florida A&M student Jade Bryant had called her apartment complex’s building three times to inquire about her power status. It would be a waiting game that Bryant would just have to deal with until the utility crews got around to it.

Bryant was forced to get creative in order to stay on top of her demanding academic schedule. “Doing homework was stressful because Coleman Library closed early on Saturday and Sunday so I did not have Wi-Fi to do my work efficiently,” Bryant said.

Panama City Beach, Mexico Beach, Blountstown, Marianna and other communities were devastated by the hurricane. “I did my best to find the positive in the situation. My apartment had no damage and I knew some people had lost their entire houses and would be displaced for weeks,” Bryant said.

“I had several friends that had power so I simply stayed with them, switching houses for about two nights,” she added.

 Having friends nearby and reliable transportation helped Bryant cope with the inconvenience of not having power.