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Idalia caused major power outages: Tips for surviving without power

Aug 19, 2023Aug 19, 2023

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The breadth of Hurricane Idalia’s impact on Florida is still being calculated, but one thing is clear: many Floridians may have to go without power for more than a day.

The Category 3 storm brought winds up to 125 mph upon its landfall in Keaton Beach, about 75 miles south of Tallahassee on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and flooded towns from Tampa to Tallahassee.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said up to 565,000 utility customers had lost electricity at some point during and/or after the storm passed.

According to the USA TODAY power outage tracking database, there were 147,293 outages continuing into Thursday morning.

Here are some tips for surviving a prolonged power outage.

Power outages aren’t just inconvenient or a way to keep you from charging your phone.

A prolonged power outage can affect an entire community’s economy by disrupting communications, water and transportation, closing businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks and other services, causing food spoilage and water contamination and preventing use of medical devices.

Hurricane Idalia aftermath:How to donate to impacted Floridians

Here is a list of things to consider during a prolonged power outage, according to ready.gov, a national public service campaign that equips people to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.

According to Consumer Reports, a good way to prepare for when your phone’s battery inevitably runs out of charge is to write down phone numbers and addresses you might need, like a nearby hospital, a school that’s providing supplies, the local library or storm shelter, or other public places that might have power to charge your phone.

Between 2000 and 2021, around 83% of reported major power outages were caused by weather-related events, according to 2022 data from Climate Central.

By Climate Central’s definition of a major power outage – an outage in which at least 50,000 utilities customers lose power – the outages caused by Hurricane Idalia in Florida’s Big Bend region come together to make a major power outage.

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