Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Hurricane Jose: Too Early to Tell If It Will Hit Florida

Hurricane Jose: Too Early to Tell If It Will Hit Florida

While the projected track showed Irma raking the state's Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire Florida peninsula - including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people - was in extreme danger from the monstrous storm, nearly 400 miles (640 kilometers) wide.

Irma was downgraded from a hurricane to tropical storm Monday, but that did nothing to quell the threat of more destruction in the coming hours.

A total of nearly 4.5 million Florida Power & Light customers have been affected by the storm, with about 1 million getting service restored, mostly by automated devices.

"This thing is a monster", he added.

Rebuilding entails replacing hundreds of down poles, substations and parts of the electrical system, FPL vice president and chief communications officer Rob Gould said.

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

While pointing out that 2.3 million out of 5 million outages have already been restored by a force of 20,000 workers operating throughout the state, Gould said FPL is aware how hard it is for those who remain without power. We have no updates on our outage.

Emera's Tampa Electric utility said the storm could affect up to 500,000 of the 730,000 homes and businesses it serves, and over 180,000 had already lost power. The storm headed north on Monday towards Gainesville and Tallahassee, taking risky wind gusts with it, ABC News reported. The city set an odd mark: The ocean rose almost 10 feet in eight hours, the quickest rise ever recorded there.

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Lee County said state and local Department of Transportation inspectors would check out the causeways to the coastal islands early Monday - and warned that "due to Hurricane Irma's significant wave action, the Sanibel Causeway may have been impacted".

In Sarasota County, 127,770 customers out of 263,835 were in the dark. It shut only one of the two reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant about 30 miles (48 km) south of Miami on Saturday, rather than both, because the storm shifted.

"We're taking precautions in every area but there are certainly things that we can not control", Deal said.

Parts of the US Virgin Islands also lay in Irma's path, though Trump does not now have plans to stop there.

Irma is expected to sap demand for fuel for a time, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note on Monday, but they cautioned that supply could remain strained because of refining capacity offline after Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas two weeks ago.

As the storm has come ashore, gasoline stations have struggled to keep up.

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