Associate editor Lisa Schroeder gives her report.

A Florida hurricane. Photo courtesy of NASA.
These days, even if you're not a regular Weather Channel watcher, you can't turn on the television without learning about hurricanes' disastrous effects. With horror stories about evacuations, gasoline and water shortages and, in some cases, lost jobs accompanying images of destruction, this hurricane season and the plight of Florida's inhabitants have captured the country's attention.

After Hurricane Charley, we talked to a couple drilling contractors about how the storm affected them. Rick Trentham, Trentham Well Drilling, Orange City, Fla., reports that his family and business fared well. His customers weathered Charley, too, with damage caused mostly by power outages. He recalls: “It wasn't too bad. We had a bunch of people without water, mainly because they were out of power.” There also was some tree damage with trees falling on wells, he adds.

Of Charley, Tuck Trentham, Tuck's Well Drilling, Deland, Fla., recounts: “We did real well; it could have been a lot worse. The eye of the storm actually was coming right at us, right here in Deland, and around Orlando, it veered a little bit to the right. The eye of the storm probably was 15 miles to the east of us, and the worst part of the storm was east of the eye. There was a lot of damage around here - a lot of pump repairs and tank repairs, a lot of lost primes because the power was out for a week. These 2-inch wells with the jet pumps lose their prime. We've gotten an awful lot of service work out of it.“

Less than three weeks later, Hurricane Frances struck. We spoke to Douglas Leonhardt of Environmental Drilling Service, Orlando, Fla., as he was preparing to leave the state before Frances hit. When asked how he fared after Charley, he replies, “It was a pain. We were out of power for nine days. It made it hard to work. My crews were out working best they could, but my office was disrupted because it didn't have power. I've got a generator but it wouldn't run the whole place.”

In terms of preparations for Frances, he reveals, “Everything is boarded up, everything is as secure as can be. My office is as secure as can be, my rental properties are as secure as can be, my home is as secure as can be, and I'm packing a truck right now to go to Georgia.”

Victoria Lubee of Tim Lubee's Well Drilling & Pump Service, Spring Hill, Fla., describes the situation at home following Frances: “We were without electric for several days. A lot of people were affected with electric. There were more power outages in more counties with Frances than there were with Charley.”

While the shop and equipment are fine, she further explains that for the time being, it isn't business as usual: “There are some areas that we can't drill because there is inland flooding. At this time, with Frances, it has affected us because the ground is very saturated; with Charley it didn't affect us directly.”

As of press time, Hurricane Ivan was wreaking havoc in the Gulf region and Floridians were bracing for yet another storm. Although we had the opportunity to talk with only a few, our thoughts are with all the contractors impacted by this devastating hurricane season.