Rapid recovery efforts are still underway in Florida following Hurricane Ian’s landfall which hit the west coast portion of the state, as residents finally have access to battered areas and over 99 percent have power restored, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
DeSantis over the weekend announced that residents of Fort Myers Beach — one of the areas hit hardest by the Category 4 storm — now have access to the area.
“Thank you to everyone involved with re-establishing access to this community, and we are working to get this area fully restored,” he added in a social media post:
“Obviously here, you suffered catastrophic damage in Fort Myers Beach and there was a premium on rescue efforts and rightfully so. … Those efforts were ongoing and continue to go on. But we also have a situation where you have a lot of people who left their homes and they want to know when they can get back,” DeSantis said during a weekend press conference, noting that the initial wave of residents already made their way into the battered area.
“I know there’s some people that are gonna have really significant damage. Some will have total loss. Some may have damage that they’re willing to live in their house for and if it’s safe, you know, obviously they have a right to do that,” he said, later adding that “a lot of the core infrastructure held in Fort Myers Beach.” However, there is still work to be done.
“The issue is really gonna be getting the debris removed, making sure you can clear the area and then seeing the homes that can even accept power or not because if the home was damaged enough, it may not be able to accept power without there being some additional renovations to the home,” he explained before reiterating that infrastructure for power in Fort Myers Beach held up “surprisingly well.”
“We had the storm exit the state of Florida on Thursday evening of last week. And so here we are now Saturday, over a week after the storm finally left the east coast of Florida, and you basically have over 99 percent of Floridians with power other than some of the LCEC [Lee County Electric Cooperative] pockets,” DeSantis said.
“All the places that can be restored without having a major rebuild at this point have effectively been restored,” he said, adding that Sanibel Pine Island, and Fort Myers Beach will need additional work.
“We were able to help facilitate 1,000 other linemen from co electrical coop throughout the state, and then many more thousands from both Duke and FPL to assist with those LCEC restorations,” he said, previewing further progress.
“But all said and done, to have 42,000 line stationed and ready to go, that allowed the power to be restored much quicker throughout the state,” he said, noting that there were times people were out of power from a storm of this magnitude for “weeks.”