Florida utilities gearing up for arrival of Idalia; widespread power outages expected

Crews were being stationed Monday in areas such as Marion County and Lake City to respond to power outages from what is expected to be a powerful Hurricane Idalia, Gov. Ron DeSantis and utility officials said Monday. 

"I've been in contact with all the major utility companies today. We will have tens of thousands of linemen positioned prior to the storm hitting the state," DeSantis said during an appearance in Largo. DeSantis added, "Floridians in the path of this storm should be prepared to lose power." 


Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. each said they were staging thousands of workers, including Duke bringing in crews from parent company Duke Energy’s operations in the Midwest. Also, Florida Municipal Electric Association Executive Director Amy Zubaly said utility workers from various states are prepared to help her organization’s members. 

"Currently, more than 30 utilities from Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Alabama have answered the call to provide mutual aid assistance," Zubaly said in a statement. "Crews are deploying from their respective states today and will be pre-positioned in Florida or nearby, so they can enter impacted areas to assist with power restoration as soon as it is safe." 

The Florida Municipal Electric Association includes 33 utilities. While still a tropical storm Monday, Idalia could become a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall Wednesday morning on the state’s Gulf Coast.