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Anthony Lehman is a big man, but when Hurricane Ian started to scream up the Caloosahatchee River and chomp bites off his roof, he turned to his most trusted friend. "Let's go, Rocky!" he said.
- Lehman and the tabby cat he's raised from kittenhood jumped in his 2015 Mazda 6 — Rocky taking the passenger floorboard — and sped to the new Winn Dixie on Bayshore Road, where they talked quietly for hours as wind shook the car and fence panels blew by.
Across Florida, 621,230 utility customers — 5% of the state — were still without power early this morning, according to the state Public Service Commission.
The big picture: Utility crews have restored electricity to 1.8 million accounts since Hurricane Ian hit five days ago, Florida Politics reports.
By the numbers: Lee County, where Ian first made landfall, has the bulk of outages, with about 283,000.
- Sarasota County is next, with fewer than 90,000 customers out.
Between the lines: Florida Power & Light says it stockpiled enough poles, generators and wire to restore the state's power, but supply chain issues could slow recovery elsewhere should another natural disaster strike, the Associated Press reports.
Florida's theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Studios, started reopening Friday, while Busch Gardens was planning to reopen Saturday after the state's major tourist attractions closed due to Hurricane Ian.
Why it matters: More than 1.8 million customers in the state remained without power Friday after the major storm made landfall in southwest Florida Wednesday and moved across the state, unleashing widespread life-threatening storm surge floods.
More than 1.6 million Florida customers — about 15% of the state — remained without power Friday afternoon from Hurricane Ian as restoration efforts continued in the state.
The big picture: Ian unleashed widespread life-threatening storm surge flooding after making landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm near Cayo Costa Wednesday afternoon. Officials in coastal communities were responding to multiple water rescues. In Port Charlotte, storm surge flooded a hospital emergency room, per AP.
Call it the Anxiety Coast.
Hurricane Ian created the perfect storm for national worry, isolating a good number of the nation's grandparents in their dreamy southwest Florida retirement communities without any way to let family know whether they're okay.
Seeing what could have been us if the storm hadn't veered south last minute, Tampa Bay is coming together to support Southwest Florida and nearby neighbors.
Where to take supplies: Local organizers with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (MADR) established a relief hub and are gathering supplies to bring to Fort Myers as early as this weekend, Creative Loafing reports.
Driving the news: More than 2.6 million in the state were without power Thursday after Ian brought strong winds, "life-threatening, catastrophic" flooding, and storm surges as high as 12 feet in some areas.
That could've been worse.
- In much of Tampa Bay, you’d have a hard time proving that a Category 4 hurricane blew by overnight.
State of play: Communities farther south took the full force of Ian, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa and sent a troubling surge of floodwater into communities along southwest Florida coastlines and tributaries.