Although Hurricane Hermine touched down a little before 2 a.m. ET, Florida began feeling her wrath hours before. With super-fast winds and gales of rain, a whopping 270,000 people have already been left without power in the Florida Gulf Coast region. The Hermine power outage maps show how extensive her reach is, and highlights the seriousness of the damage she's caused.
A half-hour before Hermine made landfall, Fortune reported the incredibly high number of people without power in Florida, and maps of the outages show just how widespread the damage from Hermine was from the very beginning. Emergency electric workers are being sent down to help assist with the widespread outages, some which began more than 12 hours before Hermine's touchdown.
The effects of massive power outages after storms like 2012's Hurricane Sandy expose the ugly truth about just how vulnerable our electric infrastructure is and how badly it can affect the lives of the people who rely on it when it's damaged. With the outage toll creeping upward towards 300,000 and at least three more states set to be hit by Hermine, the power outage experiences during Sandy now seem to be a chilling cautionary tale about how seriously our lives can be disrupted during disasters.
Below are some tweets showing some outage maps in Florida during or prior to Hurricane Hermine. As it turns out, we're all very vulnerable to the powers of nature.
While individuals do what they can to prepare for and recover from hurricanes (like fixing their houses or perhaps buying new ones), governments and power companies can easily mishandle the larger-scale recovery process. Sandy was an exemplary case in this manner as it highlighted the ways that poor people were unduly vulnerable and often under-served in private and public responses to the super-storm.
As hundreds of thousands of people find themselves without electricity on Thursday night and Friday morning, those living in the affected areas who are privileged enough to know that they will find themselves safe, warm, and with electricity soon can rest easy knowing that they will, eventually, be alright. That's not to say that class-privileged people don't experience devastation and tragedy during disasters, because they do. However, they have better means to pull themselves out of devastation that others who aren't as fortunate are not afforded. Here's hoping Hermine isn't another Sandy, and that the nation learned enough from that multifaceted catastrophe to respond correctly — for all citizens, and not just those who can pay.