Over Half Of Florida Without Power As State Braces For "Lengthiest Restoration In US History"

Tyler Durden's picture

Update (8:00am ET): As it travels over the Florida Panhandle, Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Yet it continues to produce some wind gusts that are near hurricane force.



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After hammering the Florida Keys, Miami, Naples and a large swath of the southernmost part of the state – leaving some 5 million Florida homes and businesses without electricity – the still-formidable Hurricane Irma weakened to a category one storm as it traveled over the Tampa Bay area.

According to NBC, no deaths were confirmed Sunday after the storm twice made landfall in Florida, first in Cudjoe Key, then again on Marco Island just southwest of the city of Naples. Florida's largest utility – Florida Power & Light Co. - reported that the storm had knocked out power to nearly three-quarters of its customers. All told, FP&L estimates that some 10 million Floridians will be effected by the power outages – a full 50% of the state’s population.

In fact, officials from the utility say the damage in the southwestern part of the state is so extensive, it could take weeks to fully repair, after Irma shredded powerlines, flooded streets and destroyed homes, according to ABC. One officials said it could be the costliest and most extensive infrastructure-rebuilding effort in US history.

"What we think we'll see on the west coast is a wholesale rebuild of our electric grid," Robert Gould, Florida Power & Light's vice president and chief communications officer, told ABC News. "That will take weeks."


"This thing is a monster," he added.

FPL had requisitioned 17,000 restoration workers from about 30 states in preparation for the storm. But even with an army of workers, the recovery effort will be time-consuming and incredibly costly.

“Gould estimated that FPL positioned "17,000 restoration workers from about 30 states" in anticipation of repair efforts before the storm arrived, but said that flooding from storm surges and traffic congestion as residents return home this week would delay the project.


"This is going to be a very, very lengthy restoration, arguably the most lengthy restoration and most complex in U.S. history," he said, asking that customers be patient.


On the east coast of the state, which avoided a direct hit from the eye of the storm, Gould expects repairs to last "probably a week or more."

Meanwhile, as of 5 am ET Monday, Irma had sustained winds of 75 mph as it continued to move inland. It was recently traveling about 60 mph north of Tampa, with what’s left of the storm ultimately headed for Georgia and Alabama. In an incredibly fortunate development, Tampa appears to have been largely spared by the storm. Some trees, power lines and signs were down but there was no widespread damage and no signs of flooding downtown – this after city officials worried that Tampa could experience its own “Katrina moment” due to the city’s woefully inadequate storm infrastructure.

Of course, the damage from the 400-mile-wide storm isn’t over yet. A storm surge warning remains in effect for some parts of the state, including Tampa Bay, though the warnings were ended for parts of south Florida. As we noted yesterday, the storm surge is a wall of water from the ocean as well as nearby lakes, bays, estuaries and wetlands created by a storm’s hurricane force winds. It can form suddenly – like it did in Naples on Sunday when the NHC reported that floodwaters climbed seven feet in just 90 minutes.  

Hurricane-force winds were extending outward up to 60 miles from Irma's center, and tropical-storm-force winds were being felt up to 415 miles away, the National Hurricane Center said early Monday.

While Irma has repeatedly contradicted expectations, most memorably when the storm shifted westward on Saturday, setting up the southwestern part of the state for a direct hit, here’s what forecasters expect from the storm on Monday, according to NBC.

  • Irma hit the lower Florida Keys with winds of up 130 mph just after 7 a.m. ET Sunday. It made landfall on Cudjoe Key around 2 hours later. It weakened to a Category 1 storm early Monday.
  • It passed the Tampa Bay area early Monday on its way to northern Florida.
  • The Florida Keys could get 10 to 20 inches of rain, and the western peninsula could get 10 to 15 inches.
  • The center of Irma was expected to cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia on Monday afternoon before later heading into eastern Alabama.
  • Tornados were possible in northeast Florida and the southeast portions of Georgia and South Carolina through Monday night.

While it avoided the direct hit that some were expecting, the city of Miami still experienced catastrophic winds and flooding. Many streets remain submerged, and three construction cranes collapsed in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.


As of about 5 am, the eyewall of the storm – the most-dangerous area where windspeeds are often the highest – was hammering the city of Jacksonville. According to one meteorologist, the surge at Mayport was among the highest he’d seen from any NOS gauge. The city had received eight inches of rain, with 80-90 mph gusts. According to NHC, Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical storm this morning and a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

Much of downtown Jacksonville, including the Hyatt Regency Hotel, has already experienced extensive flooding...

...As a record storm surge caused the Saint Johns river to overflow:

Here's some video from Jacksonville...


Already, damage estimates suggest that Irma could enter the pantheon of costliest hurricanes in US history just two weeks after Hurricane Harvey accomplished a similar feat in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Bloomberg, Enki Research estimates for total damages dropped to $49 billion from $200 billion earlier.

Some residents in and around the Miami area were beginning to venture outside, despite the downed power lines and debris, as rains stopped and sunshine returned.

“This had the potential to be catastrophic,” said Gladys Ibarra, 51, who works in finance at a shipping company, as she wandered an inland stretch of Coral Gables, where tree limbs littered the ground, but buildings looked little damaged. “We were very scared, and we were very lucky.”

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NoDebt's picture

I dunno, man.  That hurricane didn't seem to live up to the hype.  <shocked face>

Scanning down the data in the article I'm seeing peak wind speeds and storm surge at about HALF of what was predicted, if that.


floosy's picture

Still it gave the Dindus a chance to get some new sneakers and a TV so not all bad.

mtl4's picture

It's the storms people weren't ready for you need to be careful of (Andrew was an example of this), I told family this one would disappoint because everyone and his brother expected armageddon according to the media.

Muddy1's picture

Rebuild the grid?  I suppose it wouldn't be likely to put the utilities underground and further reduce th risk for damage to he grid in the future.

tmosley's picture

Great idea, then repairs from flood damage would cost ten times as much!

deer_flasher's picture

They're harder to repair IF damaged, but usually are much tougher to damage in the first place, that's the trade off.

DeadFred's picture

It's really a hard choice. Hang the wires on poles next to trees planted in a swamp or dig a trench in the swamp and hope the lines don't get flooded out and corrode. THey usually go with the lowest short term cost so I expect high demand for poles.

Dave's picture

Can't put the high voltage transmission lines underground. When they go down everything goes out.

skbull44's picture

The media did a horrible job (but quite typical) of taking predictive models and presenting them as hardened fact. They focused almost solely on the hit Miami and the east coast of Florida would take early on without emphasising that such models have huge margins of error. 

It was somewhat amusing to listen to them justify/rationalise their mistaken focus...stating repeatedly that they had warned people on the west coast (even though they didn't).




BarkingCat's picture

But their models are 100% correct about global warming 

MFL5591's picture

Who cares about Rain and Water and Death?  The stock markeyt  says all is good and the pigs will take it higher and knock real money because it is Better than expected!  Fucking insane group of shit in the financial cesspool! Oh and lets not forget that all the lies about N. Korea  is the newest tribal game to manipulate markets.  The fat boy friend of McCains is backing down!  laughable non stop lies !

jcaz's picture

I'm in Naples, here's how it works:

So my power went off for about 20 mins yesterday-  I'm now counted among those who "lost power".

It's Florida.   Wind blows, power goes out.  Lot of tree branches to pick up, but most of the electricity around here is underground now.

"Rebuild the grid"?  Yeah ok whatever- never miss a crisis/opportunity.

Never One Roach's picture

I am glad the hurricane was less then expected. But it was funny seeing reporters running around searching for a fallen tree or deep puddle to film for the audience's sake.

Philo Beddoe's picture

Saw one idiot reporting from the keys...

Look! The wind is peeling the paint off the rails. 

Yeah. OK. 

(Camera does close up of hand rail at hotel where retard was reporting from..spots flake of black paint flickering in the light breeze)

Swampster's picture

32 of Obama's knigger sons arrested for 'Black Sunday Shopping'





JEW RUN MEDIA PRETENDS IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.....sticking with 'half of florida out of power lies'

Lt. Frank Drebin's picture

Check out instagram, they freaking record themselves comitting a crime. This is a special kind of stupid.

secretargentman's picture

Reconstruction... At least this time they won't have to put up with carpetbaggers. 

Kotzbomber747's picture


You complain about the "Jew media," but then you post a link of the MSM brainwash tabloid Daily Mail? Hahahaha! Loser!

toady's picture

Like those dudes that write their names on water towers and walls....

"this'll never comes back on me...."


ParkAveFlasher's picture

I saw one guy on youtube in USA flag short shorts running around Naples "wooing" it up as he dodged branches.  That guy is the hurricane MVP.  He even had a harness to clip himself onto those wrought iron benches in the nice retail sections.  "WOOO!"

EDIT: This just in from my old man, the screen on the porch of his condo is still intact...totally dodged a bullet right there!

khnum's picture

....or reporting from places where there were 90 mph gusts...but er no leaves or debris to be seen

greenskeeper carl's picture

I was in Galveston when I flooded. There were a couple square blocks that filled up with water. I was out walking around with it. I saw the weather channel guy when we were out looking for a bar that was open. We deliberately walked behind the camera guy on the other side of the street because we didn't want to be on TV. We were laughing out asses off watching him on TV on the one bar that was open. He was standing in the deepest spot, of course, just for dramatic effect. Most of it wasn't even knew deep. He made it sound and look like the entire city was under water, when it was just a couple blocks. We sat at the bar for a couple hours, then left, and by the time we left the streets were drained, just wet. Hotel people said it just happened that day. Wasn't even flooded 24 hours. But just watching the news you'd think the whole city was swamped. You don't realize how dishonest it is until you are standing 50 yards from the reporter while watching him on TV.

Lumberjack's picture

What's the word about damage on the nearby islands?

Swampster's picture






Bay of Pigs's picture

I have friend in Naples and she said the same thing. They lost power, some trees and roof tiles but were never in danger.

And here at ZH? Headline was...."a thousand miles of coastline going to be DEMOLISHED!". Now kindly fuck off to those who blasted me yesterday for suggesting that headline was misleading and way out of line.

onewayticket2's picture

Limbaugh was correct - again.


yet article after article claimed he said the entire hurricane was a "hoax" (not at all what he said).  The left has egg on its face.....the trump admin and republican governors handled two large storms well.  

techpriest's picture

Yes, it looks like Irma blew all of its energy while hugging the coast of Cuba, and as such it didn't hit that hard when it turned north.

Definitely softened all of the doom boners.

Dave Thomas's picture

Hey BoP Remember when folks here were saying that the BP oil spill was going to lead to a mass killoff of marine life which would in turn damage the food chain and hence end the world? 

Or how about the Fukushima fuel rods that were ready to go critical any second? 

Anytime a Hurricane follows another hurricane that did some damage people always expect the worse.

Remember Rita after Katrina? They were saying Rita'd have a 120 ft storm surge and bury houston in 40 ft of water.

What happened was a bunch of people ran out of gas on I45 and got into fights, a few trees got blown down and that was that.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Yes Dave. I remember all that. Pretty much describes how ridiculous and deeply flawed the news cycle is, and has been.

Good to see you again Dave. Hope all is well with you.

Dave Thomas's picture

Doin great, glad you're no where near any of this mess! 

In other news, WE DID IT! Dow +200!

Farqued Up's picture

There are microcritters in seawater that will eat anything including metals such as liquid mercury to form methyl mercury, a bitch of a hydrocarbon. Contrary to TheFake Media the fish mercury didn't drain off from the plant, it comes from the deep water vents mixed with the gas, plus NAZI subs sunk while carrying liquid mercury from Germany to Japan for antigravity machines.

mkkby's picture

NUCLEAR STORM -- yeah, right.

Pretty obvious it was another media hyped minor event. It was clear from last Wednesday it was going to go mostly west into the gulf. The guy surfing off Miami beach a couple of days before was right.

I'd be pretty pissed off if I wasted lots of money on bottled water, hotels and gas. I'd also be pretty pissed if I missed work to sit in traffic jams for 2 days. First they sent everyone west, then east. Hope people kept their receipts and can return that over priced tap water today.

Lumberjack's picture

Sadly, the usual suspects...


WTF is wrong with these people? Don't they know how this reflects on them as a whole?

spanish inquisition's picture

Looks like a bunch of first responders getting medical supplies. Couldn't make out alot of what they were taking , but it looks like one has a bunch of orthopedic shoes.

Kobe Beef's picture

If they could think ahead, or had a conscience, then they wouldn't be


Low IQ, low conscientiousness, high time preference-- it's in their genes. But tell me we're equal, and call me rayciss, and we'll just pretend that these hominids can function in civilization, despite the mountain of empirical evidence to the contrary.

sodbuster's picture

All the dindus were driving nice vehicles too!

ZeroLounger's picture

AS soon as the cops show up, they run like raped florida-stinkapes.

Lumberjack's picture

That particular crew was located by police and arrested. Something to do with those license plates on them thar fancy cars!

Hammer823's picture

Don't forget to donate!


HRClinton's picture

Re... "Still it gave the Dindus a chance to get some new sneakers and a TV so not all bad."

Ah, how are they going to watch the Negro Football League games? 

If we don't want riots, I guess they'd better snail mail those welfare checks (old school), until the plastic works again.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

I want my money back!  This hurricane sucked!

loves the truth's picture

That's because I sent in a big donation to Al Gore and he saved us.

Never One Roach's picture

<< I want my money back!  This hurricane sucked!>>

"Your check is in the mail."

freedogger's picture

Well technically it didn't really suck. It kind of blew.

Putrid_Scum's picture

Ha! Even the weather report is fake!

Welcome to the new REAL America


Buck Johnson's picture

That is why certain weather channel correspondents where off the air for a few days and they came back on.  I think they overhyped it and it didn't turn out to be the monster they thought it would be.