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

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Power outage in Volusia approaches 80%; 826,000 statewide and rising

Volusia County has gone almost entirely dark, and Flagler and Indian River counties are not far behind, because of Hurricane Matthew.

The latest power outage reports provided by Gov. Rick Scott‘s office show 78 percent of power customers in Volusia were without electricity as of noon, while 69 percent of Flagler customers, 67 percent of Indian River customers, and 61 percent of Brevard County customers were in the dark.

Statewide, more than 826,000 power customers had no electricity at noon. And that does not count what will happen in Jacksonville when Matthew, as expected, gets that far in a couple of hours. At noon, the power grid in Duval County, the most populated in Matthew’s assault, was holding up pretty well.

That statewide total is heavily filled with people from Volusia and Brevard: 218,000 customers in Volusia and 187,000 in Brevard were without power. Elsewhere, more than 50,000 customers were without power in each of Indian River and St. Lucie counties; more than 40,000 each in Martin, Orange, Palm Beach, and Seminole counties; 39,000 in Flagler; and 28,000 in St. Johns. In Martin, that represents 48 percent of the customer base; in St. Johns, 34 percent; and in Seminole, 20 percent. Fewer than one in 15 customers had lost power in either Orange or Palm Beach counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has mobilized 1,770 line workers and vegetation management personnel who are standing by to respond to outages, according to a press release from the Florida Municipal Electric Association. Crews have been brought in from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and across Florida.

“Coordination and cooperation is critical in times like these. We are happy to lend a helping hand wherever needed and greatly appreciate the support of all our mutual aid partners here in Florida and from all over the United States who have come to help us, as well,” FMEA Executive Director Barry Moline stated in the release.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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