RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Nearly 7 million people are without power as Hurricane Irma pounds Florida, FPL officials said Sunday during an emergency operations meeting.
The 7 million in the dark represent 3.4 million customer accounts. The company, which serves 5 million accounts representing 10 million people in 35 counties, expects about 3.4 million customer accounts, representing 6 million people will lose power in Irma’s wake.
More than 17,000 utilities workers from 30 states and Canada are stationed at more than 20 staging sites across the state ready to restore power.
The workers, employed by other utilities companies throughout the U.S., can begin restoration work once winds drop to 35 mph and floodwaters recede.
Some have been working during the storm to restore power. By Sunday, the company restored power to 400,000 customers during the storm.
“We are restoring power where we can get out between feeder bands,” Rob Gould, FPL vice president and chief communications officer said Sunday.
FPL officials believe restoration efforts can begin in Broward and Miami-Dade counties first when FPL meteorologist Tim Drum predicts tropical storm force winds might subside by 7 a.m. Monday.
Drum predicts tropical force winds to subside in Palm Beach County by 9 a.m. Monday and on Florida’s west coast by noon Monday — all best-case scenarios, he said.
On Sunday morning, as Irma battered The Keys, hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the storm’s eye. Tropical storm force winds extended 220 miles from the eye, Drum said.