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Downed trees and power lines block the road after Hurricane Hermine blows through Tallahassee, Florida. (Phil Sears)

APolitical

Duke expects 100,000 to 200,000 customers to lose power

Duke Energy Florida, which provides electricity to large parts of the state’s Big Bend and eastern Panhandle said Tuesday night it expects 100,000 to 200,000 customers to have power outages because of Hurricane Michael.

The utility said it based the estimate on a storm-modeling tool that takes into account factors such as wind speed and the magnitude of the storm.

“Duke Energy anticipates significant, widespread power outages, particularly along the coastline of the company’s service area due to storm surge,” the company said in a news release. “Historical data and company experience indicate complete restoration from a storm of this magnitude could take multiple days to over a week — depending on the extent of actual damage, crews’ ability to access remote areas and islands, and conditions following the storm, such as flooding.”

Duke’s service area includes parts of the state expected to be hit hard Wednesday by Hurricane Michael, including part of Bay County and the coastal counties of Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla.

Michael became a Category 3 hurricane Tuesday, and the National Hurricane Center said it is “forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida.”

Duke said it has mobilized 7,000 workers to restore power after the hurricane and is bringing in workers from Duke’s operations in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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