Utility poles snapped like toothpicks. Power lines lay on the ground like overcooked spaghetti. The scene in much of the Southeast, after the most recent tornado outbreak, looks like it is right out of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow." But for those off the grid and in the dark without power, help is on the way.
"It's going to be a major repair," says Mikell Murray, Vice President of Sumter Utilities.
Murray says the contracting company for SCE&G has already been on the road for most of the last month doing similar repair jobs. But nothing compares to the work cut out for them in Alabama.
"One of the customers I talked to this afternoon just found 500 additional poles than they already knew were down," says Murray. "So we're talking thousands of poles that are damaged and who knows how much wire."
Murray has packed a week's worth of clothes and is heading out first thing in the morning with 450 other Sumter Utility employees. He'll breakdown the number of people answering the call into 100 crews.
"Our guys normally work from about six in the morning to eleven at night," says the VP. "During that period of time they'll be setting poles, re-installing wire...and putting the infrastructure back together so customers can begin to receive their power back."
The latest update issued by the Alabama Power Company says more than 300,000 homes are still without power in the state. A daunting number, but one Murray is confident his crews can sustainable cut down each day they're needed.