Hurricane Ian left cities across Florida underwater, remnants of buildings scattered and millions without power.
The Category 4 storm battered Florida — but particularly gutted the southwest coast — with heavy rain, gusty winds, catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge.
Friday was the first full day Florida Power & Light’s more than 20,000 deployed employees were able to focus on restoration, CEO Eric Silagy said. About 1.2 million customers, or 60 percent of those originally left without electricity, have had power restored. That leaves 850,000 customers without electricity.
Here’s what to know about when power might come back across the state. Silagy said there’s no guarantee all residents in the area will have power restored by FPL’s estimate.
Already restored: Baker, Bradford, Broward, Clay, Columbia, Hardy, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Palm Beach, Suwannee and Union
By Saturday: Alachua, Martin, Indian River, Putnam, St. Lucie and St. Johns
By Sunday: Brevard and Okeechobee
By Tuesday: Flagler, Seminole and Volusia
But the possibility of power restoration looks grim for Southwest Florida, Silagy said. Many areas are still unsafe for workers due to floodwaters or collapsed infrastructure.
FPL has been using new technologies, such as drones, to survey and assess the most affected areas in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Highlands, Henry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but there will be pockets we’ll be able to get restored [in the most affected areas], especially when the floodwaters start to recede,” Silagy said.
Despite Ian’s destructive forces, FPL’s generation and transmission infrastructure wasn’t damaged, Silagy said. He believes it fared well due to investments in concrete and steel to harden the system.
“It is pretty amazing to think about the fact that we had no structural failures at all on a transmission system that was battered by a storm of this intensity for this long a period of time,” Silagy said.
He pointed to 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which left more customers without power and FPL infrastructure damaged across the state.
For real-time updates about when power will be restored, Silagy advised customers download the FPL app.