Irma knocks out power to over three million in Florida
Hurricane Irma knocked out power to more than 3 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday, threatening millions more as it crept up the state’s west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, local electric utilities said, Reuters reported.
Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon as it barreled up the west coast, it weakened to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph).
So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light’s customers in the states’ southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune, either.
“We are not subject to any special treatment from Hurricane Irma. We just experienced a power outage at our command center. We do have backup generation,” FPL spokesman Rob Gould said on Sunday.
FPL, the biggest power company in Florida, said more than 2.9 million of its customers were without power by 7:40 p.m. (2030 GMT), mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. More than 200,000 had electricity restored, mostly by automated devices.
The company’s system will need to be rebuilt, particularly in the western part of the state, Gould said. “That restoration process will be measured in weeks, not days.”