More Floridian homes, businesses still without power after Hurricane Ian than the households in all of Rhode Island

Video above: The latest on the impacts of IanNearly a week after Hurricane Ian smashed into Florida and carved a path of destruction that reached into the Carolinas, more than half a million statewide residents faced another day without electricity Tuesday as rescuers continued their search for those trapped inside homes inundated with lingering floodwaters.US officials vowed Sunday to unleash a massive amount of federal disaster aid as crews scrambled to rescue people stranded by the storm. GALLERY: Hurricane Ian causes tornadoes, flooding across South Florida At least 99 people have been confirmed dead in Florida and four in North Carolina, according to ABC News. Search and rescue efforts were still ongoing in Florida, where more than 1,600 people have been rescued statewide.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Arcadia on Sunday afternoon, about 30 miles inland from where Ian made landfall. The rural area didn’t get the storm surge experienced by coastal communities, but standing water from floods remained four days after the storm.“This is such a big storm, brought so much water, that you’re having basically what’s been a 500 -year flood event,” DeSantis said. Video below: The last news conference from Florida officials on IanIan knocked out power to 2.6 million customers across Florida when it roared ashore with 150-mph (241-kph) winds and pushing a powerful storm surge. About 520,000 homes and businesses in Florida were still without electricity Monday evening, down from a peak of 2.6 million. But that is still nearly the same amount of customers in all of Rhode Island.Eric Silagy, Chairman and CEO of Florida Power & Light — the largest power provider in the state — said he understands the frustrations and said crews are working as hard as they can to restore power as soon as possible. The utility expects to have power restored to 95% of its service areas by the end of the day Friday, he said.A utility spokesperson said the remaining 5% comprises mostly cases where there’s a special situation making it difficult to restore power, such as the home being so damaged it can’t receive power or the area still being flooded. Those outages do not include customers whose homes or businesses were destroyed.Another major electricity provider in the hard-hit coastal region — Lee County Electric Cooperative — said Monday it expects to hit the 95% mark by the end of Saturday. That figure does not include barrier islands like Sanibel that are in its service area.Video below: WPBF 25 drone video shows the devastation in Fort MyersPower restoration is always a key challenge after major hurricanes when high winds and flying debris can topple power lines that distribute electricity to homes or in more severe storms, damage major parts of the electric infrastructure such as transmission lines or power generation.Silagy said the utility has invested $4 billion over the last 10 years to harden its infrastructure by doing things such as burying more power lines , noting that 40% of its distribution system is now underground. The utility is also using more technology like drones that can stay aloft for hours to get a better picture of the damage to the system, and sensors at substations that can alert them to flooding so they can shut off parts of the system before the water hits .Silagy said he’s seen during Ian where those investments have paid off. On Fort Myers Beach, for example, where so many homes and businesses were wiped away, concrete utility poles remain standing, he said. Silagy said the company also didn’t lose a single transmission structure in the 8,000 miles (12.875 kilometers) they have across Florida. Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government is focusing first on victims in Florida, which took the brunt of one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden plan to visit Florida on Wednesday. Informational: 2022 WPBF 25 First Warning Weather Hurricane Survival GuideMeanwhile, rescue and salvage efforts across Florida remained difficult. In DeSoto County, northeast of Fort Myers, the Peace River and tributaries reached record high levels, and boats were the only way to get supplies to many of the county’s 37,000 residents.Video below: Central Florida family saved during water rescueIan washed away bridges and roads to several barrier islands. About 130 Florida Department of Transportation trucks started work on building a temporary bridge to Pine Island and, by the end of the week, should be finished on a structure drivers can carefully traverse at slow speeds, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference Monday.The governor said a similar temporary bridge is planned for nearby Sanibel, but will take more time. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson on Sunday defended Lee County officials from accusations that they were slow in ordering evacuations Tuesday ahead of the storm, a day later than some other counties in the area.“Warnings for hurricane season start in June. So there’s a degree of personal responsibility here. I think the county acted appropriately. The thing is, a certain percentage of people will not heed the warnings regardless,” Anderson said on the CBS show “Face the Nation.” Video below: EF2 tornado damage in Delray Beach, which was one of the three tornadoes in Palm Beach County during Hurricane Ian

Video above: The latest on the impacts of Ian

Nearly a week after Hurricane Ian smashed into Florida and carved a path of destruction that reached into the Carolinas, more than half a million statewide residents faced another day without electricity Tuesday as rescuers continued their search for those trapped inside homes inundated with lingering floodwaters.

US officials vowed Sunday to unleash a massive amount of federal disaster aid as crews scrambled to rescue people stranded by the storm.

GALLERY: Hurricane Ian causes tornadoes, flooding across South Florida

At least 99 people have been confirmed dead in Florida and four in North Carolina, according to ABC News. Search and rescue efforts were still ongoing in Florida, where more than 1,600 people have been rescued statewide.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Arcadia on Sunday afternoon, about 30 miles inland from where Ian made landfall. The rural area didn’t get the storm surge experienced by coastal communities, but standing water from floods remained four days after the storm.

“This is such a big storm, brought so much water, that you’re having basically what’s been a 500-year flood event,” DeSantis said.

Video below: The last news conference from Florida officials on Ian

Ian knocked out power to 2.6 million customers across Florida when it roared ashore with 150-mph (241-kph) winds and pushing a powerful storm surge.

About 520,000 homes and businesses in Florida were still without electricity Monday evening, down from a peak of 2.6 million. But that is still nearly the same amount of customers in all of Rhode Island.

Eric Silagy, Chairman and CEO of Florida Power & Light — the largest power provider in the state — said he understands the frustrations and said crews are working as hard as they can to restore power as soon as possible. The utility expects to have power restored to 95% of its service areas by the end of the day Friday, he said.

A utility spokesperson said the remaining 5% comprises mostly cases where there’s a special situation making it difficult to restore power, such as the home being so damaged it can’t receive power or the area still being flooded. Those outages do not include customers whose homes or businesses were destroyed.

Another major electricity provider in the hard-hit coastal region — Lee County Electric Cooperative — said Monday it expects to hit the 95% mark by the end of Saturday. That figure does not include barrier islands like Sanibel that are in its service area.

Video below: WPBF 25 drone video shows the devastation in Fort Myers

Power restoration is always a key challenge after major hurricanes when high winds and flying debris can topple power lines that distribute electricity to homes or in more severe storms, damage major parts of the electric infrastructure such as transmission lines or power generation.

Silagy said the utility has invested $4 billion over the last 10 years to harden its infrastructure by doing things such as burying more power lines, noting that 40% of its distribution system is now underground. The utility is also using more technology like drones that can stay aloft for hours to get a better picture of the damage to the system, and sensors at substations that can alert them to flooding so they can shut off parts of the system before the water hits .

Silagy said he’s seen during Ian where those investments have paid off. On Fort Myers Beach, for example, where so many homes and businesses were wiped away, concrete utility poles remain standing, he said. Silagy said the company also didn’t lose a single transmission structure in the 8,000 miles (12.875 kilometers) they have across Florida.

Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government is focusing first on victims in Florida, which took the brunt of one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden plan to visit Florida on Wednesday.

Informational: 2022 WPBF 25 First Warning Weather Hurricane Survival Guide

Meanwhile, rescue and salvage efforts across Florida remained difficult. In DeSoto County, northeast of Fort Myers, the Peace River and tributaries reached record high levels, and boats were the only way to get supplies to many of the county’s 37,000 residents.

Video below: Central Florida family saved during water rescue

Ian washed away bridges and roads to several barrier islands. About 130 Florida Department of Transportation trucks started work on building a temporary bridge to Pine Island and, by the end of the week, should be finished on a structure drivers can carefully traverse at slow speeds, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference Monday.

The governor said a similar temporary bridge is planned for nearby Sanibel, but will take more time.

Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson on Sunday defended Lee County officials from accusations that they were slow in ordering evacuations Tuesday ahead of the storm, a day later than some other counties in the area.

“Warnings for hurricane season start in June. So there’s a degree of personal responsibility here. I think the county acted appropriately. The thing is, a certain percentage of people will not heed the warnings regardless,” Anderson said on the CBS show “Face the Nation.”

Video below: EF2 tornado damage in Delray Beach, which was one of the three tornadoes in Palm Beach County during Hurricane Ian

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