(Reuters) – Hurricane Irma bumped out capability over 3 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday, threatening millions more simply because it crept inside the state’s west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, local electric utilities said.

Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning being a dangerous Category 4 storm, the next highest level for the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon simply because it barreled in the west coast, it weakened to the Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph).

So far, the brunt with the storm has affected Florida Power & Light’s customers within the states’ southern and eastern sections, as well as own operations wasn’t immune, either.

“We are not be subject to any special therapy from Hurricane Irma. We merely experienced an energy outage at our command center. Carry out have backup generation,” FPL spokesman Rob Gould said on Sunday.

FPL, the greatest utility company in Florida, said over 3.2 million of the company’s customers were without power by 10 p.m. (0200 GMT Monday), mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Much more than 200,000 had electricity restored, mostly by automated devices.

The company’s system will need to be rebuilt, specially in the western section of the state, Gould said. “That restoration process are going to be measured in weeks, not days.”

FPL is often a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc (N:NEE).

Large utilities that provide other places on the state, including units of Duke Energy Corp (N:DUK), Southern Co (N:SO) and Emera Inc (TO:EMA), were seeing their outage figures grow for the reason that storm pushed north.

Duke’s outages soared to 390,000 from 60,000 in a very span of 4 hours on Sunday evening, as well as company warned its 1.8 million customers in northern and central Florida that outages could ultimately exceed 2million.

The company updated its website on Sunday evening that has a warning to customers that outages may keep working for a week or longer.

Emera’s Tampa Electric utility said the storm could affect nearly 500,000 of the 730,000 homes and businesses it serves, and also over 180,000 had already lost power.

The utilities had a large number of workers, some from as far away as California, wanting to help restore power once Irma’s high winds pass their service areas. About 17,000 were assisting FPL, nearly 8,000 at Duke and most 1,300 at Emera.

Tampa Electric told customers on Sunday, however, that response crews were halting work because of the high winds.

FPL said on Friday that Irma may affect about 4.A million customers, but that is until the storm track shifted away from the eastern side of your state. Its company is concentrated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.


The utility said its two nuclear plants were safe. It shut only 1 of the reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant about 30 miles (48 km) south of Miami on Saturday, rather then both, because the storm shifted. It wants to leave both reactors in service with the St. Lucie plant about 120 miles (193 km )north of Miami because hurricane-force winds will no longer be most likely to hit web sites.

There is additionally spent nuclear fuel at Duke’s Crystal River plant, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Tampa. The guarana plant, on Irma’s current forecast track, stopped operating during the past year and was retired in 2019.

In a worst-case scenario, the spent fuel could release radiation if come across the actual environment, but a federal nuclear official declared that was extremely unlikely.

“That fuel can be so cold, relatively speaking, may well take weeks before there’d be any concern,” said Scott Burnell from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

As the storm has arrived ashore, gasoline stations have struggled to take care of. Inside the Atlanta metro area, about 496 stations, or 12.2 percent, were out of gasoline, according to information service Gas Buddy.