Hurricane Ian came ashore Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa, Florida, moving northeastward across the state. In the first few hours of the storm, much of southwest Florida experienced massive flooding and strong winds, unleashing wrath on Florida’s power grids.
“This storm is having broad impacts across the state, and some of the flooding you’ll see in areas hundreds of miles from where this (storm) made landfall are going to set records. And that’s going to be the things that will need to be responded to,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.
According to tracking service Poweroutage.us, approximately 2.4 million Floridians have lost electricity, especially those located in coastal Lee County and Charlotte County.
“Lee and Charlotte are basically off the grid at this point,” DeSantis said, adding that Florida Power and Light system will need to be rebuilt, but it will be more work than just “connecting a power line back to a pole.”
Florida Power & Light also warned residents of a major overhaul in turning the lights back on after Hurricane Ian. “Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic winds will mean parts of our system will need to be rebuilt – not restored.” Florida Power & Light said. “Be prepared for widespread, extended outages as we assess the damage. We are already at work restoring power where we can do so safely.”
In a press conference Wednesday, DeSantis said 5,000 Florida National Guardsmen and 2,000 guardsmen from other states had been stationed to help during storm surges. About 40,000 power and line workers have also been mobilized to restore the lights.
DeSantis also mentioned the possibility of tree falls due to the consistent rainfall and flooding. “The ground is already wet, which makes it more likely for trees to fall and bring down power lines,” he said. “This is going to be one of those historic storms. We thank people across the country for their thoughts and prayers.”