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Power Restored to 420,000 Florida Homes 24 Hours After Hurricane Idalia’s Landfall

Governor DeSantis said 146,000 households remain without electricity. On the upside, there were still no confirmed fatalities from the hurricane as of Thursday morning.

Text the word 'Florida' to (813) 733-5278 to receive more updates straight to your phone on whats going on in the Sunshine State.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Count Governor Ron DeSantis among the millions of Americans who were pleasantly surprised to learn that no confirmed deaths have been reported after a Category 3 hurricane blasted the state of Florida on Wednesday.

“To be here where you have a storm hitting close to 130 mph [winds], just under a Cat 4 and not – as of now – have any reported fatalities is probably something that most people would not have bet on four or five days ago, knowing how strong the storm was going to get,” the governor said at a press conference on Thursday morning.

DeSantis praised the work of local officials across the state, in particular those in the Big Bend counties that the storm hit the hardest.

“My hats off to the people on the ground there,” he said. “Those officials in those really hard-hit counties I think did a good job. I think citizens responded very appropriately.”

Following the press conference, DeSantis left the capital to return to the region where Idalia did her greatest damage. He visited Perry on Wednesday afternoon and said he will spend time in Cedar Key and Steinhatchee on Thursday.


The governor said that restoring power was “priority one,” noting that “100 percent” of residents in Taylor County are without power. He added that as of early this morning, a total of 146,000 homes remain without electricity – while 420,000 households have had their power restored.

“We’ve got a lot of people on the ground and this has been a really big priority,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to continue working, doing what needs to get done.”

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) managed to clear all state bridges impacted by the hurricane, including the Cedar Key Bridge. The department has also cleared “the vast majority of roadways,” including a 15-mile stretch of I-10 in Madison County that was reopened Wednesday evening.


The state has requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issue a major disaster declaration for all 25 counties that were under an evacuation order. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell joined the governor and Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie at the press conference.

“As President Biden has stated in numerous phone calls, we are committed to bringing the entire federal family in here to continue to support,” Criswell said, adding that she will also visit the Big Bend area on Thursday to assess the damage on the ground. “We are going to process the governor’s request for a major disaster declaration as quickly as possible.”


Guthrie said the state’s goal is to fully restore power across the state within 48 hours, but acknowledged the rural area presents challenges because the area is sparsely populated.

“We may only be able to get on a handful of customers with a 10-mile [power] line,” Guthrie said, contrasting the situation with the state’s power restoration efforts last year after Hurricane Ian devastated more densely populated areas in Lee County.

“This is an issue where we have miles and miles and miles of rural area that may service one or two residents,” he added. “We have more than enough people to restring all the line, but again it’s going to be a little bit different than [last year].”

Guthrie also advised against Floridians using ladders and chainsaws if they do not have experience with those tools. He also called attention to the risks associated with improper use and placement of generators. Anyone in need of help with clearing debris or other home repairs should contact Volunteer Florida for support, Guthrie said.

“Right behind me where we’re standing is a room full of volunteer disaster organizations that are ready to come and help you,” Guthrie added. “Please make sure you reach out to us or your local emergency management agency for a list of volunteers who are willing to come and help you at your home.”

On Wednesday evening, FDEM tweeted a graphic that Guthrie talked through at the press conference regarding how Floridians should properly muck and gut their property after flood damage.

Text the word 'Florida' to (813) 733-5278 to receive more updates straight to your phone on whats going on in the Sunshine State.