PENSACOLA, Florida – The 76-person Gulf Power storm team was released on Thursday, shortly after beginning their trip to the Carolinas to assist with restoration following Hurricane Florence.

“With the hurricane weakening slightly as it approaches, the anticipated crew levels needed are being adjusted,” said Gordon Paulus, Gulf Power spokesperson. “However, there is a chance we could be picked up by another utility between now and Monday.”

The Gulf Power storm team was placed on standby.

The storm is forecast to be a tropical storm as late as Saturday night in South Carolina.

The unpredictability of tropical storms means planning is constantly shifting. Gulf Power is part of the Mutual Assistance group of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, which coordinates the placement of utility restoration teams with the host utilities that might need them.

“Once the utilities in North and South Carolina assess how much damage there is from the winds of Hurricane Florence and the flooding, we could very well be called to assist one of them,” Paulus said. “We are ready to help.

Gulf Power has a strong history of restoring power — both at home and away assisting other utilities. Crews have deployed nearly 40 times since 2008 to help other energy companies restore power to their customers, most recently to Puerto Rico, to help rebuild the energy grid following Hurricane Maria.