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Irma knocks out power for millions in South Florida

Florida leaders say it is very likely that power to residents will go out for several days as Irma, now a Category 4 Hurricane, makes its pass through the state. (MGN)

Florida leaders say it is very likely that power to homes and businesses will go out for several days as Irma moves through the state. Crews spent time working ahead of Irma to make sure that the electricity can stay on for as long as possible.

Right now, FPL reports over 1.6 million outages to customers as of Wednesday afternoon after Irma made landfall. Officials reported the largest outage in Miami-Dade County.

Other outages include:

  • Miami-Dade County: 432,483
  • Broward County: 321,832
  • Palm Beach County: 277,590
  • Brevard County: 120,300
  • Lee County: 196,231
  • Collier County: 152,245
  • Sarasota County: 82,954
  • St. Lucie County: 31,907
  • Martin County: 28,036
  • Indian River County: 13,131
  • Okeechobee County: 11,927
  • Hendry County: 8,626

FPL expected outages to 4.1 million customers or about 9 million people. Officials say this type of outage "will be unprecedented for us.”

Locals can track all outages on the FPL website by viewing their Power Tracker Map.

With the expectation of lost power, FPL says responding crews have follow these protocols to restore power:

  • 24 hours post-landfall, once we have conducted damage assessments, we will provide an estimate of when power will be restored for all customers.
  • 48 hours post-landfall, as our field crews continue to make more thorough assessments, we will provide a county-by-county restoration estimate.
  • 96 hours post-landfall, we’ll provide restoration estimates at a more local level.

Losing power in your home/business

Officials are urging residents who plan to use generators to maintain power to do so cautiously.

  • Thoroughly read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid dangerous shortcuts and ensure the safe operation of your generator
  • Set it up outside, away from all open windows, including neighbors’ windows, to prevent deadly exhaust from entering a home or business
  • Use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for outdoor use to keep the generator safely outdoors. If the appliance has a three-prong plug, always use a three-prong extension cord
  • Consider using a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm to be alerted if carbon monoxide levels become dangerous
  • Connect appliances directly to it. Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause severe injuries, or even kill a neighbor or utility crew working to restore power
  • Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator
  • Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator’s rated wattage
  • Don't touch a generator if you are wet or are standing in water or on damp ground
  • Never refuel a hot generator or one that is running - hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline
  • Ensure you have plenty of gas for operation stored safely in gas containers
  • Don’t leave a running generator unattended; turn it off at night and when away from home

Law enforcement agencies have been continuously sharing tips to keep residents and their homes safe.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office tweeted tips for what to do with and how to check on your refrigerator and freezer before and after the power goes out.

Tip: Refrigerators may only need to run a few hours a day to preserve food. Try to maintain 40 degrees in the refrigerator compartment and zero degrees in the freezer.

Driving in severe weather

Residents evacuating should drive with extreme caution do to possible power outages.

If street and traffic lights are not working, drivers should treat ALL intersections as a four-way stop, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

FHP states that if traffic lights are flashing yellow, drivers should proceed with caution and be prepared to yield to oncoming traffic.

Drivers who are experienceing heavy rain need to have their lights and wipers on. NEVER DRIVER THROUGH FLOODED AREAS.

Send us your photos of Hurricane Irma aftermath by texting the word "Irma" to 44332.


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