MidAmerican Energy trucks leaving Davenport for Atlanta. (MidAmerican photo)

A long convoy of bucket trucks and other MidAmerican Energy vehicles left the Davenport area this  morning, headed south.

About 80 utility workers are initially destined for Atlanta, Georgia, where they’ll be on stand-by until Hurricane Ian comes ashore on Florida’s Gulf Coast this afternoon. MidAmerican spokeswoman Tina Hoffman says the emergency response team is ready to get the lights back on after the storm knocks them out.

“At this point, Georgia Power has requested our assistance and so that’s where our crews will head first,” Hoffman says, “but the nature of these storms is ever-changing and so certainly our crews could complete their assignments in Georgia and then be requested to travel somewhere else.”

The team members volunteered for the assignment and work across MidAmerican’s service area, which includes Iowa, as well as parts of Illinois, South Dakota, and Nebraska. “Most of the folks going down are line mechanics and they obviously will be working on restoration efforts,” Hoffman says, “but we also have a support team that travels with them to make sure they have the equipment they need, that our safety protocols are understood and put in place, and that all of our folks can stay safe while they’re assisting areas that have been hardest hit.”

Forecasters say the massive storm could be upgraded to the highest strength, Category Five, before it makes landfall, as

MidAmerican crews preparing to leave. (MidAmerican photo.)

sustained winds are exceeding 150 miles an hour. “This is something that we understand a lot, living in the Midwest, the damage that storms can do, not hurricanes necessarily, but storms can certainly be very damaging and life-changing,” Hoffman says. “Our crews understand that and they’re ready to answer the call and help those folks down south.”

Depending on the damage, the Iowa-based crews may be gone up to two weeks.