Florida powers up, but Keys stay dark
Utility workers scramble ‘24/7’ to get lights back on
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.
Dave Stroshein inspects the flooding in his shed at Citrus Park in Bonita Springs, Fla.
Crews from Xtreme Powerline Construction in Port Huron, Mich., work on downed lines Wednesday in Rockledge, Fla.