Power restoration and bridge clearances: post-storm recovery underway

by | Aug 31, 2023

  • Post-storm recovery is underway in counties impacted by Hurricane Idalia’s landfall as a category 3 storm. 
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis reported that 420,000 accounts that lost power due to the storm have now been restored statewide, though rural areas in the panhandle still face countywide outages. 
  • The Florida National Guard is working in tandem with the state’s dedicated Search and Rescue teams to complete necessary rescue tasks. As of Thursday morning, zero deaths were registered as a result of the hurricane. 

Post-storm recovery efforts are underway Thursday morning following Hurricane Idalia’s landfall as a Category 3 storm over Florida’s Big Bend and Gulf Coast regions the day prior.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last night the successful clearance of all state bridges affected by Hurricane Idalia, including Cedar Key Bridge, which was directly impacted by the storm’s pathway. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has allocated approximately 700 team members to the impacted regions, with almost 100 Bridge Inspectors and 224 Cut and Toss crew members.

Crews have cleared approximately 6,600 miles of roads utilizing 250 pieces of equipment, including 140 dump trucks, 59 pumps, and 207 other heavy machinery. Moreover, nearly 1,100 generators have been positioned to restore traffic signals.

At 9:15 A.M., the governor reported that 420,000 accounts that lost power due to the storm have now been restored. The majority of the remaining outages are concentrated in the panhandle, with Taylor, Lafayette, and Madison counties experiencing nearly 100 percent losses of power.

Per an outage tracker, Taylor County holds a 99.98 percent outage rate, while Madison and Lafayette hold 99.95 percent and 98.61 percent rates, respectively.

“The bulk of the outages at this point are in that Big Bend region; a lot of those rural counties that bore the brunt of the storm,” said DeSantis. “[The linemen] are going to be working particularly on that area. That is priority number one.”

Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie indicated that power restoration efforts may take longer than those undertaken following Hurricane Ian last year due to the low population densities in the aforementioned counties. Due to the area’s rural nature, substation restoration may only bring power back to a handful of residents.

“We have more than enough people to restring all the line, but it’s going to be a little bit of a different look and a little bit of a different feel,” said Guthrie. “We may only be able to bring on a few customers with a ten-mile stretch of line.”

Search and Rescue missions also remain ongoing with support from the Florida National Guard. As of this morning, zero deaths have been reported statewide as a result of the storm. Further, the governor stated that no state buildings were reported to have any damage or structural concerns.


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