With Hurricane Irma forecast to slam Miami, Florida late Friday, Ed Hume is extremely worried. For a week now he’s been trying to convince his son, Ed Jr., 31, to pack up and leave his apartment in downtown Miami, to no avail.
His latest attempt was Thursday morning, but so far, his son plans to stay in place.
“He’s still there, trying to decide if he should go now or wait,” said Hume, a senior project manager for Southern California Edison. “I hope he goes. I told him that this boils down to an analysis of risk … and it’s not going to get better.”
Meteorologists are predicting Hurricane Irma will bring damaging winds of 129 mph to upwards of 159 mph. The hurricane comes as Houston is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey that arrived in Texas Aug. 25. So far, the number of deaths from Harvey is at 70.
Soon after Harvey hit Texas, Edison International began raising funds through the Edison International Relief Fund. To date, employees — many with relatives in the affected areas of Houston — and the company have raised $128,409 to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Employees are also holding fundraisers and donating directly to the American Red Cross.
“I think that is awesome,” said Ilianna Romero, an SCE energy advisor in the Customer Contact Center, of her company’s relief fund. Her cousin, Amie Rodriguez, 25, evacuated her Houston home with her family just before Harvey hit. With the help of her co-workers, Romero organized a recent event to raise money for the hurricane victims.
Romero’s cousin is seven months pregnant, but packed and left with her son, 3, and daughter, 1, before the hurricane’s worst impact was felt. Her husband, Joey Rodriguez, stayed behind a few days longer, sending pictures of himself pulling a raft around as he gathered supplies.
The family is now all safe in Dallas with relatives.
“She was really scared,” said Romero of her cousin who she kept in touch with regularly before and during the hurricane. “I watched the news and I was scared for her.”
Like Romero, Tammy Tumbling, SCE director of government relations in Local Public Affairs, spent hours monitoring the news as two of her children — Amanda, 20, and Ashton, 22, — were in Houston visiting relatives as Hurricane Harvey made landfall.
“As a mom, I was really worried those first few days,” she said. “I wanted to fly them home immediately.”
As one of the SCE employees who volunteered with the American Red Cross during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, emergency preparedness was something Tumbling taught her children from a young age. They knew to have extra water, fresh batteries for their flashlights and emergency backpacks.
Once Hurricane Harvey hit, the streets were flooded and Tumbling’s children stayed put as they waited for the water to recede. Power went out intermittently for a few days, but the area now has electricity. They are now safe and back in school.
“It’s important to be prepared,” said Tumbling. “So many people during Hurricane Sandy were not.”