Thousands in North Central Florida lose power as Tropical Storm Elsa hits state

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At least 26,000 Floridians were without power early Wednesday morning as Tropical Storm Elsa swept across the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the power outages as of 6 a.m. were concentrated in the Tampa Bay area, with most occurring in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties.

MORE: Elsa makes landfall north of Cedar Key

“There are more than 10,000 restoration personnel prepared to respond to these outages, as soon as it’s safe to do so,” DeSantis said.

If counties need to provide food and water to residents, DeSantis said emergency crews have prepared supplies for distribution including forklifts, traffic cones, tents and other necessary items.

Counties in North Florida, like Alachua, Columbia, Bradford and Union could see power outages throughout the day as strong winds and storms are expected to hit the area. Elsa was expected to make landfall Wednesday morning along Florida’s Big Bend and make its way north through Georiga in the afternoon.

RELATED | Elsa’s first strike: Columbia County town torn up by storm winds

As of 12:30 p.m., Clay Electric was reporting 1,558 power outages in Alachua County and 3,583 in Columbia County.

There were also 1,900 outages in Union County around 10 a.m., which is nearly half its customers, but those outages were resolved by noon.

JEA CEO Jay Stowe told The Morning Show on Wednesday that all reported outages in Jacksonville will be addressed, but there’s an order to how JEA restores services, so customers might need to be patient.

“We focus on critical infrastructure areas -- hospitals, wastewater facilities -- to keep the foundational services moving for our customers. After that we move through the largest areas where we can turn on the most people the most quickly, and then we move to smaller areas,” Stowe said. “Once you call in and report the outage, then it’s in our system, and we will respond as quickly as we can. We ask for patience as we work through this.”

As of 12:30 p.m., there were no widespread power outages reported in Jacksonville.

MORE | JEA CEO urges patience if your power goes out: ‘We will respond’

As of Wednesday morning, JEA had not requested mutual aid from other agencies, but Stowe said they’re prepared to do that if the storm’s effects are worse than they’re anticipating.

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