Power still out for millions across Florida as Irma aftermath continues

In St. Pete, officials pledge to restore power to all by Friday.

click to enlarge St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and other officials brief the press and public about Irma cleanup and recovery efforts. - City of St. Petersburg Facebook page
City of St. Petersburg Facebook page
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and other officials brief the press and public about Irma cleanup and recovery efforts.

In two separate press conferences Tuesday afternoon, officials in Hillsborough County and St. Petersburg had some bad news and some good news.

The bad: About six millions of people remain without power throughout Florida, including hundreds of thousands in the Tampa Bay area. In Hillsborough, some 250,000 TECO customers throughout the county remain without power for an indeterminate amount of time. In St. Petersburg, that number is around 98,000.

But, in Hillsborough, TECO CEO Gordon Gillette said, that number had been 425,000 when the number of power outages peaked. In St. Pete, meanwhile, crews are working on restoring power and say everyone should have it back by midnight on Friday morning.

In addition, the City of St. Petersburg plans on opening up several city recreation centers, including North Shore Pool, to the public so residents can cool off and charge their devices.

While those dealing with the Florida heat minus air conditioning as well as lack of electronics are probably not too thrilled, it could have been a lot worse.

“Our city wasn't devastated but our quality of life has definitely been disrupted,” said Kanika Tomalin, deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. “We want people to get back their quality of life.”

Other okay-ish news for St. Pete: contrasting rainfall events that led to millions of gallons of sewage being dumped into the bay, Irma reportedly only caused about 400,000 of gallons of sewage to spill, and it was contained on site (i.e. not dumped into the bay).

The sewage dumps have been at center in the mayor's race, in which incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman is fending off a tough challenge from former Mayor Rick Baker, who has made it the issue leading up to the November runoff.

Kriseman announced before the storm that he would halt campaign activity to focus on storm preparation and aftermath. Asked on Tuesday when he'd likely pick it back up, he said he wasn't sure.

“I'm just trying to do everything I can to keep everybody safe," he said. “Until we get things back to normal, I'm not even thinking about that.”


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