12 in Florida dead after Irma; hundreds of thousands still in the dark

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 5:42 PM EDT

Hurricane Irma may be gone, but the aftermath of the historic storm is still being felt.

The governor's office said Tuesday afternoon that 12 people have died as a result of the storm. Six of those deaths were vehicle-related, four were during storm preparations, and one person was killed in an accident involving a power line.

One person died of a heart attack while trying to pull-start a generator, the governor's office said, adding that one person was killed in Pinellas, Pasco, Marion, Duval, Libery and Broward counties. Two people were killed in Hillsborough, Hardee and Orange counties. There were at least 35 Irma-related deaths in the Caribbean.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, more than 1 million power customers in the Bay News 9 viewing area were still without power after the destructive storm.

The White House said President Donald Trump will be coming to Florida on Thursday to talk with officials on cleanup efforts and visit with residents impacted by the storm. Trump has also approved a major disaster declaration, which authorizes federal funding to flow directly to Floridians impacted by the hurricane. The action also reimburses local communities and the state government to aid in response and recovery. 

And those recovery efforts are taking place statewide, from the Keys to southeast and northeast Florida and in central Florida and the Bay area.

Gov. Rick Scott said after talking to the biggest utility companies in the state that 60 percent of Florida could be with without power.

He has also taken phone calls from nursing homes and assisted living centers who are having problems with generators.

The storm has affected the entire state. Jacksonville, for example, is experiencing its worst flooding since 1846, Scott said. Federal officials estimated one-quarter of all homes in the Keys were destroyed.

Meanwhile, in the Bay area, restoring power has become a top priority as electric companies such as Duke Energy and Tampa Electric scramble to restore power. 

Duke Energy officials said as many as 9,000 crew members are out in the fields working on downed lines and snapped power poles. Crew members were brought in from out of state and from as far away as Canada, said Duke spokesperson Anna Gibbs. 

"We have 500 staff on duty working today in Pinellas and Pasco counties," Gibbs said.

TECO has crews fanned out across the region as well as close to 300,000 of its customers remain without power.

Customers without power as of 5 p.m.: 

DUKE ENERGY
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PINELLAS - 415,119
PASCO – 84,705
CITRUS - 28,794
HERNANDO - 8,613
HILLSBOROUGH - 23
POLK - 61,174

TAMPA ELECTRIC
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INCLUDES HILLSBOROUGH/ POLK - 255,188

Also

FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT
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MANATEE- 72,260
SARASOTA- 114,670

PEACE RIVER
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MANATEE- 4,477
POLK- 4,873
HILLSBOROUGH- 365

WITHLACOOCHEE ELECTRIC
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CITRUS, HERNANDO, PASCO, POLK AND SUMTER - 111,000