Hurricane Idalia left entire swaths of North Florida without power, with more than 100,000 customers reporting outages in the state’s Big Bend area where the storm made landfall Wednesday morning.
Eight counties in the Big Bend region had a power loss of more than 60% — three of which had 99% of their homes and businesses in the dark, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that compiles outage numbers.
Taylor, Jefferson, Madison, Suwanee, Hamilton, Columbia, Lafayette and Dixie counties had the most customers without power as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.
In total, about 300,000 of the 11 million power customers in Florida are without electricity.
In the hardest-hit regions, Duke Energy Florida is the largest power provider. Repair crews immediately descended on areas they could access.
“We are committed to working as quickly and safely as possible to get the lights back on for our customers,” said Todd Fountain, Duke Energy Florida storm director. “Many of our customers are still feeling Idalia’s impact. We thank all the first responders and the help we’ve received from other utilities. Our crews will continue to restore power where it is safe to do so.”
By 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Duke Energy said more than 64,000 of its customers were without power, and nearly 70,000 had their electricity restored.
In Tallahassee, the state’s capital, Idalia knocked out electricity to 35% of the city’s customers on Wednesday.
“Based on current assessments, crews will achieve substantial completion of restoration by end of day tomorrow,” the city said in a social media post.
Hurricane Idalia knocked out electricity to 35% of the City’s customers, & based on current assessments, crews will achieve substantial completion of restoration by end of day tomorrow, Aug. 31. (1/11) pic.twitter.com/TnMKHqV5iV
— City of Tallahassee (@CityofTLH) August 30, 2023
NetBlocks, a global internet monitor, says internet connectivity collapsed in several cities. Some of these areas have seen an up to 70% drop in internet connection, which means some residents in the hurricane zone couldn’t contact loved ones to tell them they were OK.
“The numbers represent fixed-line internet connectivity, although it also reflects landline phone and cellular service to some extent,” NetBlocks Director of Research Isik Mater told the Miami Herald. “The low figures tell us many in the impacted areas will find it difficult to communicate at present.”
Here’s how many Floridians are without power in the worst-hit counties, according to PowerOutage.us:
▪ Taylor: About 97% of the county is without power, 13,345 customers out of 13,771.
▪ Jefferson: About 99.8% of the county is without power, 8,669 customers out of 8,683.
▪ Madison: About 99.1% of the county is without power, 11,467 customers out of 11,477.
▪ Suwanee: About 99.7% of the county is without power, 24,681 customers out of 24,747.
▪ Hamilton: About 93.4% of the county is without power, 6,595 customers out of 7,059.
▪ Columbia: About 85.4% of the county is without power, 30,551 customers out of 35,788.
▪ Lafayette: About 76.44% of the county is without power, 3,406 customers out of 4,456.
▪ Dixie: About 71.5% of the county is without power, 7,591 customers out of 10,623.