Millions of Floridians remain without power as Hurricane Ian exits the state. Many face days — maybe weeks — of power outages.
Hurricane Ian left 2.2 million homes and commercial buildings without electricity as of Thursday night, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that compiles outage numbers. The website recorded 2.2 million customers without electricity out of about 11 million customers in total.
Earlier in the day, about 2.6 million customers were without electricity, showing a steady recovery of power throughout the state.
The worst hit areas lined the lower southwestern side of the state while South Florida remained relatively unscathed.
Hardee, Charlotte and Lee counties remain the areas with the most power outages in Florida, based on the latest data from PowerOutage.us published around 10:40 p.m.
Nearly all of Hardee customers have no power. Only 41 residences or commercial buildings out of 9,545 have electricity. Charlotte has 112,048 out of 127,498 customers, or about 88%, without electricity. In Lee, 88% of residents have no power or 413,734 out of 471,806 customers.
Conditions improved throughout South Florida on Thursday. Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties each had 1% or less in outages.
Florida Power & Light President and CEO Eric Silagy spoke in a brief outdoor press conference and said, “We will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the last power is restored.”
FPL is the largest power provider in the state. Most residents depend on FPL in two of the three worst hit counties — Charlotte and Lee.
FPL sent workers to areas where the wind dipped below 30 mph. It has over 24,000 dispatchers across the state. Over 500,000 customers got power back either from dispatchers or through automated switches between Wednesday and Thursday.
Ian brought destructive flooding over east-central Florida, including to Fort Myers, Sanibel and Naples. The Category 4 storm later downgraded to a Category 1 during Wednesday night before weakening to a tropical storm Thursday morning. It grew to a Category 1 storm by Thursday evening as it traveled over the Atlantic Ocean toward South Carolina.