Hurricane Irma exited Florida Monday, leaving more than 7 million homes and businesses without electricity – including more than 5.5 million customers in Florida who were still without power the next morning.
A full 52 percent of all homes and businesses in Florida were without power Tuesday morning, according to FloridaDisaster.org.
Damage was so widespread that not even the deployment of 19,500 electrical workers was enough to get things working, Florida Power & Light (FP&L) reported. The damage caused by Irma is the most widespread in FPL’s history, with power off in parts of at least 35 counties, including Miami-Dade.
It will take days and possibly weeks to restore electricity to many of the homes and businesses, FP&L CEO Eric Silagy told the Associated Press. Damage was greatest around Naples on Florida’s West Coast.
“We’ve never had that many outages,” Silagy told The Washington Post. “I don’t think any utility in the country has.”
Even homeowners with diesel/gas generators were finding it tough to cope, as gas pumps were dry throughout the state.
Another 1.3 million homes and businesses in Georgia and 161,000 electrical customers in South Carolina also were without power on Monday, CNN reported.
Irma was downgraded to a tropical depressions Monday, but was still doing damage. Large areas of the South are still at risk for flooding.
“Intense rainfall rates of 2 inches or more per hour is leading to flash flooding and rapid rises on creeks, streams, and rivers,” the National Hurricane Center warned. “Significant river flooding is possible … Monday and Tuesday in much of central Georgia and southern South Carolina; where average rainfall of three to six inches and isolated 10 inch amounts are expected. Portions of these states within the southern Appalachians will be especially vulnerable to flash flooding.”
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