Roughly 343,700 Floridians were still without power as of noon Friday according to Gov. Rick Scott as utility crews worked to restore electricity after Hurricane Michael.
While areas further east, such as Monticello, were already getting power back, according to Duke Energy Florida spokeswoman Ana Gibbs, areas closer to the water, such as Mexico Beach, were in far worse shape.
"The wind was so strong that the storm surge not just destroyed (our infrastructure), but portions of our infrastructure completely vanished," Gibbs said. Entire rows of poles and wires were gone in some of the hardest-hit areas, mirroring the residential destruction.
As of Friday, Gibbs said there was not an estimated time frame for getting all of its customers fully up and running again.
"We will work as long as it takes to get everyone’s power back on," she said.
Gulf Power, which serves much of the Panhandle, said Friday that residents in the hardest-hit areas could be without power for weeks and did not have an estimated time for full restoration.
"All of our crews are out working and customers will be seeing more bucket trucks in the hardest hit areas," said Jeff Rogers, Gulf Power spokesperson, in a release. "We also have drones and helos in the air today to provide us with more detailed reports of our system by the end of today."
Power restoration in some areas has been held up by the prevalence of storm debris, which has prevented utility crews from pushing in farther. At Gov. Scott’s request, the Florida Department of Transportation is organizing "push crews" to remove debris and trees to allow restoration crews through.
As of mid-afternoon Friday, Gulf Power reported just over 106,200 customers without power. About 74,500 customers of the City of Tallahassee were without power. Talquin Electric Cooperative, which serves areas around Tallahassee, reported 46,700 without power. Roughly 25,900 Duke Energy Florida customers didn’t have power, the bulk of which were in the Panhandle.
For a full list of outages, visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s rundownhere.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.