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'Our primary challenge is power': Manatee County leaders say 85.5K homes without in dark after Ian

Dr. Scott Hopes said "significant" infrastructure damage to power systems will hamper efforts to restore power to people in Manatee County.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County leaders have begun recovery efforts following the impacts of Hurricane Ian — one of the county's major concerns remains the lack of power.

According to Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes, out of 199,000 Florida Power and Light customers, 85,500 households in Manatee County are without power as of 11 a.m. Friday. But 14,000 households got power overnight, Hopes said. 

About 51,000 households serviced by Peace River Utilities are still without power. 

"We are bringing the power to where it's needed," Hopes said. Later, he added, "our primary challenge is power." 

Infrastructure damage to transmission lines is also causing a challenge to power restoration, compounded by ongoing supply chain issues. 

"This is going to be a rebuild of the power grid system in many areas," Hopes said. "And that's not something you turn on quickly." 


Across the county, 95 intersections are still damaged; and, 76 intersections are completely without power. Hopes adds that all drivers should treat these intersections as four-way stops until they have been fixed. 

County leaders said they are working on getting generators to the necessary lift stations, many of which are still without power. In the meantime, people are still urged not to do laundry, take long showers and be very conservative with flushing toilets so as not to overwhelm the system. 

Anyone experiencing wastewater issues is asked to call 3-1-1 for assistance. 

To date, county leaders said more than 9,000 calls for assistance have been made to the 3-1-1 call center. 

During the news conference, Hopes said several rescues have been made, including seven people in the Myakka area. 

Flooding is still a concern in Manatee County, county leaders warned. One of the main reasons is that several rivers "have yet to crest" and are already past the major flooding stage, as measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hopes said if no additional rainfall happens, the rivers will likely crest sometime Saturday. 

Hopes urged people to not drive through any standing water, but rather take the "turn around, don't drown" approach. 

Watch the full press conference here

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