In 2004 - 2005, South Florida withstood a series of hurricane class storms that caused business interruptions ranging from a minor annoyance to a significant event covering weeks. Hurricane Wilma was perhaps, the most challenging of that series of storms.
Hurricane Wilma roared into South Florida in October, 2005 and left 6 million people in the dark.
At first, the power was off just about everywhere, and days became weeks for some. But not for the tenants of BRIC. Within hours of the FPL power supply going down, the 10 MW back-up generator roared to life powering critical life-safety needs across the campus and the mission critical technology and other power needs for tenants on the back-up power supply.
While the glass and steel corporate facilities all throughout Palm Beach County were experiencing extensive downtime from several days to weeks, BRIC was back in business in hours. In addition, due to the critical nature of the adjacent FPL substations on the grid, the power supply was restored as quickly as could be expected for the BRIC campus.
Wilma was the worst disaster in Juno Beach-based Florida Power & Light Co.'s history. Palm Beach County felt mostly sustained Category 1 (74-95 mph) winds, but Category 3 gusts of up to 120 mph were common.
The storm whacked the backbone of FPL's electrical grid, and was the final blow in a string of seven hurricanes in 15 months that hammered the utility's 4.3 million customers. FPL's critical Conservation-Corbett transmission line between Palm Beach and Broward counties sustained structural damage. The total cost to fix the grid damage from the 2004 and 2005 storms was $1.8 billion.
The cycle of destruction, power failures and painstaking restoration led to many changes. In 2006, the Florida Public Service Commission ordered FPL and the state's other investor-owned utilities to create storm-hardening plans. Utilities had been conducting routine maintenance, but plans aimed at making the system more resilient to strong winds did not exist.