Hurricane Ian, with its catastrophic winds, has left more than 1 million Floridians without power. And the number is growing.
PowerOutage.Us is keeping track of the numbers. At 6:30 p.m., the outages stood at more than 1.5 million. So far, Lee County is the hardest hit. Fort Myers is the main city in the county. The site shows that there are 425,000 outages out of a possible 471,806. Ian first made landfall on a barrier island off the coast. Then it swept through Fort Myers to make landfall on the Florida peninsula.
The outages will grow as Hurricane Ian slowly chugs northeast, sweeping through Orlando and Jacksonville. The back side of the eye wall, as of 6 p.m. local time, still was battering Fort Myers. Meanwhile, Polk County was starting to see mass outages. The largest cities in the country are Lakeland and Winter Haven. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, also was starting to lose power.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about contingency plans earlier this week.
“You look at the number of people that are on the southwest coast of Florida, for example,” DeSantis said. “Fortunately, most of them are not going to have their homes destroyed. But most of them are going to lose power. You’re going to have services that are going to be interrupted.”
DeSantis said that more than 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard were ready to help as soon as the storm moved through. National Guardsmen from other states also have joined them to assist in rescue and recovery efforts.
Meanwhile, Florida’s two largest electric utilities have more than 22,000 workers waiting to start restoring power as soon as it’s safe to do so. Florida Light & Power posted about its plans and priorities to get the lights back on and the AC cranking again once Hurricane Ian clears the area.
Plus, other states are helping. Workers from 30 states were standing by. They were in place before Hurricane Ian made landfall.
A huge storm surge was sweeping through Fort Myers and Naples Wednesday afternoon. Because of all the water, the cities have placed curfews on the residents who didn’t evacuate.