State Watch

More than 2 million without power in Florida as Hurricane Ian continues to strike

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The number of Floridians without power has surpassed 2 million as Hurricane Ian continues to batter the state, according to poweroutage.us.  

More than thirteen counties have been affected by serious outages, with most of the damage clustered on Florida’s southwestern coast.  

The tracker shows the power is out for over 440,000 Floridians in Lee County, which declared a state of emergency and issued a mandatory evacuation order Tuesday — or about 94 percent of the area. 

The coastal counties of Sarasota and Charlotte were also heavily affected, with outages impacting about 89 and 98 percent of each county, respectively. 

In nearby DeSoto county, all but one of the nearly 19,000 customers tracked were without power as of the latest update. 

In a statement issued before the storm made landfall on Wednesday, FPL said that as conditions continue to “rapidly deteriorate” and “crews are unable to deploy” due to dangerous conditions, the company will work remotely, using smart grid technology, to restore power where possible. 

“In some areas, customers could experience more than one outage as severe weather bands continue to move through. Due to the destructive nature of this storm, dangerous conditions could last for several days and cause outage counts to fluctuate,” the statement said.

It added that its crews will conduct a damage assessment only when weather conditions from the hurricane ease and once winds drop below 35 miles per hour.

“These assessments, which include data gathered from a fleet of drones, help the company assign the right crews and right equipment to the right place and give customers a more accurate estimate of when the company will complete restoration in each region,” it added.

According to the power company, the conditions are extremely dangerous especially as “rain-soaked soil makes trees susceptible to toppling onto power lines and to uprooting underground power lines.”

Line workers will only be able to find and fix the damage once the water recedes. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center ahead of Hurricane Ian.

The total number of outages on the poweroutage.us website has been rapidly growing all Wednesday as Ian came closer to land.

The weather in the Sunshine State continued to get more severe Wednesday. Some emergency services have announced that first responders won’t be responding to 911 calls until the weather passes. 

An advisory from the National Hurricane Center Wednesday showed Ian had 155 mph wind speeds, two miles per hour short of a Category 5 hurricane. 

The center updated predictions for storm surges from the hurricane, saying some areas could see up to 18 feet in storm surge flooding. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Wednesday it was going to be a “nasty, nasty day, two days” for Florida. 

More than 2 million people are under evacuation orders, according to the governor, and have been encouraged to get to higher ground. 

Many airports have closed down and thousands of flights have been canceled due to Ian.

—Updated at 10:46 p.m.

Tags Hurricane Ian Hurricane Ian power outages Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis
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