Flor­ida pow­ers up, but Keys stay dark

Util­ity work­ers scram­ble ‘24/7’ to get lights back on

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - John Ba­con @jm­ba­con USA TO­DAY

Util­ity work­ers were rapidly restor­ing power to bat­tered Flor­ida on Wed­nes­day, but parts of the Keys may not be turn­ing their lights on for a month, a power com­pany said.

Hur­ri­cane Irma’s fu­ri­ous slog through the state dark­ened more than three-quar­ters of homes and busi­nesses. On Wed­nes­day, the Flor­ida Divi­sion of Emer­gency Man­age­ment said the power was on for 67% of the state’s ac­counts.

Flor­ida Power & Light, which pro­vides power to al­most half the state, said it hoped to re­store power on the east coast by Sun­day and across the state by Sept. 22. “Work­force of more than 21,500 em­ploy­ees & con­trac­tors from nearly 30 states & Canada are work­ing 24/7 to re­store ser­vice fol­low­ing #Irma,” the com­pany tweeted.

Irma made its first U.S. land­fall in the Flor­ida Keys, and no area of the state was more se­verely ham­mered. Keys En­ergy Ser­vices, a pri­mary power provider for the Lower Keys, said Key West to Big Cop­pitt Key should have power re­stored in a week to 10 days.

The num­bers were more en­cour­ag­ing in the Flor­ida’s big­gest cities. In Mi­ami-Dade County, home to Mi­ami, the power was on across 60% of the county.

Tampa, which dodged what had been fore­cast as a di­rect hit, had power to more than half its pop­u­la­tion.

When Irma and its 130-mph winds bar­reled its way up Flor­ida, no part of the penin­sula was spared.

NI­COLE RAUCHEISEN, USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

Dave Stroshein in­spects the flooding in his shed at Cit­rus Park in Bonita Springs, Fla.

TIM SHORTT, FLOR­IDA TO­DAY

Crews from Xtreme Pow­er­line Con­struc­tion in Port Huron, Mich., work on downed lines Wed­nes­day in Rock­ledge, Fla.

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