More than 24,000 customers were without power on Sunday evening ahead of Tropical Storm Eta’s approach to South Florida, according to Florida Power and Light’s outage map. Over the weekend, power was restored to another 50,000 who lost electricity due to the storm, the utility company said.
While the worst of the storm was not expected until later Sunday and early Monday, customers had been impacted since Saturday morning due to falling trees and vegetation, and more outages were expected over the next several days.
“In some parts of our area, the ground is already saturated with water causing trees to more easily uproot and topple over into power lines,” said FPL President and CEO, Eric Silagy, via a statement.
On Saturday, FPL said a significant number of its customers from the Treasure Coast to Miami-Dade County and throughout Southwest Florida might experience widespread outages while Tropical Storm Eta affects the area.
While the utility company said it has 10,000 workers prepared to restore power crews must wait for any flood waters to recede before they can access their equipment and begin restoration. Crews also cannot be out on the streets if winds are more than 35 miles per hour.
A single customer might also experience more than one outage during the storm and its aftermath, FPL said.
The utility said it has 100 drone teams that can survey damage and more than 30 staging areas for repair crews, including Metro Zoo in Miami, Sarasota Fairgrounds, Collier County Fairgrounds and Daytona International Speedway.
Residents are advised to stay indoors during the storm. If they must venture out, they should avoid standing water and debris, as downed power lines could be energized and dangerous.