351,000 come through second night without power


People at more than 351,000 homes and businesses smashed by Hurricane Michael Wednesday are getting up in the dark for the second morning, though the numbers without power have been trimmed by about 50,000 since the peak of the blackout Thursday morning.

And Gov. Rick Scott announced he is authorizing state- and federally-backed push crews to go into affected areas to clear debris in advance of power companies’ power restoration crews.

Still almost entirely in the dark are Bay County, which took the brunt of Michael’s fury, and seven other Panhandle counties where more than 90 percent of residents and businesses still were wtihout eletricity at 6 a.m. Friday, according to the latest report from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

In Bay County a handful of customers have goten the power back, but still 94 percent, 111,000 homes and businesses, are without electricity Friday.

In Leon County, seated by Tallahassee, another 111,000 homes and busineses still are in the dark. That’s 77 percent of the state Capital’s electricity customers.

In Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson and Liberty counties no one has electricity. None of those counties has more than 30,000 electricity customers, but they’re all without power.

And more than 90 percent of homes and businesses in Franklin, Holmes, and Washington counties are without electricity, while Wakula County is about 80 percent dark, according to the latest FDEM update.

The push crews will be removing downed trees and debris that block the path of power restoration crews.

These crews are being provided through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Florida State Emergency Response Team, and will be funded through Governor Scott’s emergency order.

Scott also requested assistance from Manny Miranda, Florida Power and Light’s senior vice president of power delivery, to advise and assist the state’s power restoration efforts. Mirandaa worked to help restore power in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and will be stationed in the State Emergency Operations Center.

“Restoring power in our communities quickly is one of the most vital things we can do to help families get back on their feet,” Scott stated in a news release issued by his office. “These additional crews will help get utility restoration workers into our communities faster, so they can do their jobs and bring back the power. We hope that every utility acts quickly and takes advantage of this offer for assistance. I appreciate Manny’s willingness to come and help. We must do everything we can to get the lights back soon.”

Also, to help restore power faster, Florida SERT made first responder fueling depots available to utility crews across the Panhandle. This helps ensure that utility restoration trucks have the fuel they need so they can restore power faster.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


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