Tampa Electric is continuing to assess damage to power lines as a result of Hurricane Ian, which at its peak left 300,000 customers without power.
As of 4:45 p.m., the utility company estimates 220,740 customers are still without power. That means about 42,000 homes have had power restored this afternoon, with Tampa Electric previously estimating 263,000 homes without power at noon.
The utility company prepped for the storm, which was previously expected to directly pummel the Tampa Bay area earlier this week, but shifted its path southward. As part of its preparation, Tampa Electric called in more than 3,000 workers to address power outages, ensuring restored power in days rather than weeks.
For TECO customers who are looking to report an outage, you can go here, call 877-588-1010 or text OUT to 27079. Tampa Electric advises residents to stay safe and keep away from downed power lines, and to call immediately to report them at 813-223-0800. The company will be providing more updates on social media channels.
Power outages are not just affecting homes. Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor reminded residents Thursday morning that several intersections have traffic lights down. If you come across a traffic light that’s down, treat the intersection like a four-way stop, she said.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor echoed O’Connor’s cautious messaging Thursday, advising residents to stay off the road and pay attention to hazards.
“We are asking everyone to stay alert, stay vigilant, paying attention to any of the hazards that are out there,” Castor said. “Keep an eye out for your neighbors.”
As for next steps, the City of Tampa plans to deploy search and rescue teams to help Fort Myers and Naples, which were leveled by the hurricane Wednesday. Castor also recognized First Lady Casey DeSantis for her role in activating the Florida Disaster Fund.
“We know that our neighbors to the south would have come up here if that original prediction had held true. They would have been right here to help us,” Castor said. “We need to be there to help them.”