ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Florida Power & Light says it will be weeks, not days, before electricity is fully restored because of the damage being done by Hurricane Irma.
More than 3.3 million homes and businesses – and counting – have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.
The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.
Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone.
The power outages are expected to increase as the storm edges further north.
There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state.
Spokesman Rob Gould said Sunday that an estimated 3.4 million homes and businesses will lose power once the worst of Irma reaches the Florida mainland. He expects thousands of miles of poles and lines will need to be replaced, particularly on the Gulf coast.
He said 17,000 restoration workers from as far away as California and Massachusetts are already stationed around the state, but it will take time to rebuild the system.
The utility covers much of the state, including most cities on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast south of Tampa. It does not cover Tampa and St. Petersburg, two major cities in Irma’s forecast path.
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