Almost 2.5 million without power in Florida from Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian was powerful enough that its winds were just a couple of miles per hour shy making it a Category5 storm when it made landfall in Florida Wednesday. It didn’t take long before it unleashed its fury on Florida’s power grids.
Ian’s eye began moving onshore at Sanibel and Captiva islands by midday on Wednesday. Before 2: 30 p.m. ET, more than 660,000 customers had their power knocked out, according to tracking on poweroutage.us. Two hours later, the number of outages had surpassed 1,000,000. After sundown, the number surged once again – bringing the total of those without power as of 10 p.m. to more than 2 million people. At 4 a.m., there were nearly 2.5 million homes and businesses without power.
Southwest Florida was bearing the brunt of the impact. Nearly all customers in several counties, including DeSoto and Charlotte, were without power on Thursday morning. According to poweroutage.us, at least half of customers in several neighboring areas, including Manatee and Sarasota as well as Collier, Highlands, and Glades were without power.
Reports continued to show outages along the Gulf Coast. Major disruptions were reported as far as Citrus County. The panhandle continued to see smaller disruptions.
Areas along Florida’s eastern coast were also seeing outages. Although Miami-Dade was hard hit by power outages, there were steady restorations throughout the day. Outages were also seen more inland, and were detected in every county along the state’s eastern coast.
Florida officials warned for days about the possibility of power problems. Ian has been relentless on its track, knocking out power to all of Cuba when it raked the island on Tuesday, although power in some areas has been restored. The National Weather Service warned that Hurricane Ian would cause severe wind damage to Florida’s southwest before it made landfall. The service’s director, Ken Graham, said during a press briefing on Wednesday that the storm would take 24 hours to complete its journey across the state after the eye made landfall.
“This is going to be a storm that we talk about for many years to come,” he said.
Florida Power & Light, the main provider to the homes and businesses reporting outages, tweeted on Wednesday that the company was expecting “widespread, extend” outages. More than 1 million of the more than 5.7million customers tracked through PowerOutage.us had lost power.
Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said Wednesday that there were more than 30,000 linemen “staged and ready” to help restore power when it is safe to do so. Gov Ron DeSantis said later in the day that number had increased to 42,000.
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