FPL responding to "virtual hurricane"

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) -- Thousands of employees with Florida Power and Light are preparing for the upcoming hurricane season Thursday by responding to a "virtual hurricane."

The storm, called "Hurricane Sheryl," will make landfall on the west coast of Florida then travel across the state, before exiting Florida over the Treasure Coast.

Employees at FPL's command center in Riviera Beach have been preparing for the upcoming storm season since the beginning of the week. They will go through the motions of what employees actually do before a storm hits, during the storm and responding to outages once the storm passes.

FPL uses its mobile command unit to travel to some of the hardest hit areas following a storm. The unit even traveled to the northeast last year following Hurricane Sandy.

Officials say employees learned a lot from last year's hurricane season, along with the response to Hurricane Sandy.

"You don't have to be in the path of the storm and it doesn't have to be a Category 5 to cause some serious damage so that's why we take this practice so seriously and train the entire organization and take those lesson learned from last year and apply them to this year and future years," said FPL spokesperson Peter Robbins.

Staff with FPL said people at home should be preparing for storm season as well.

"We just encourage people not to focus on the number of storms predicted or the exact forecast path of a storm but really just a general sense of readiness to make sure that they've thought things through and didn't wait till the last minute to be ready," Robbins said.

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