Power outages reported across South Florida as Irma approaches

Robert Soriano of South Tampa Fla. feared Irma would bring a 'nightmare scenario' to his city

"It's hard to speculate, but some of the estimates could be 5 million people without power based on this, you know, south-to-north trajectory, and it's not just Florida; it's going to be moving into Georgia as well. over the next five days", Long said.

As of 3:40 a.m., Florida Power and Light reported 9,474 power outages in Miami-Dade County were reported and 625 outages in Broward County.

Tampa was one of the luckier cities in Florida that was largely spared from Irma's wrath
Tampa was one of the luckier cities in Florida that was largely spared from Irma's wrath

"We will safely shut down these nuclear plants well in advance of hurricane-force winds, and we've finalized plans for that shutdown", FPL spokesman Rob Gould told a news conference.

About 574,000 of those outages were in Miami-Dade County, while there were 360,000 in Broward and almost 136,000 in Palm Beach County.

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At this point in time, "it is not expected that the St. Lucie nuclear power plant will be shut down as result of Irma, though we will closely monitor the changing weather conditions", the utility said. The two facilities are Florida's only operating nuclear power plants. More than 76,000 people in the state are already without power, according to Gov. Rick Scott. More than 200,000 had electricity restored mostly by automated devices.

Stay far away from downed power lines and anything that may be in contact with a downed power line.

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"We think this could be the most challenging restoration in the history of the USA", he said. Emera's Tampa Electric utility said the storm could affect up to 500,000 of the 730,000 homes and businesses it serves.

FPL also said it will proactively shut down certain substations before they flood, so they can turn them back online more quickly.

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