Florida, Tampa Bay see thousands without power as temperatures drop

Florida, Tampa Bay see thousands without power as temperatures drop

Duke Energy and Tampa Electric Co. reported more than 3,100 power outages in the Tampa Bay area early Saturday as temperatures in most locales dipped into the 30s, with some places in the 20s.

But utility repair crews made headway through the morning, with many customers seeing power restored as the day wore on.

In Hillsborough County, more than 2,100 outages reported early in the day in the Wimauma area were eventually restored. Tampa Electric initially reported more than 2,300 outages throughout its service area but that number was down to 121 at 6 p.m. Saturday. Still active at that time was a newer report of 92 outages in Temple Terrace, with an estimated time of 10:10 p.m. for restoring service.

In Pinellas County, nearly 600 customers were still without power as of 6 p.m. in mid-county in an area along Bryan Dairy Road, west of U.S. 19. A notation on Duke’s online outage tracker said the cause was “extreme weather in or near the area.” An earlier outage involving more than 250 customers in Seminole appeared to be resolved.

In Pasco County, after an earlier report of 121 outages in New Port Richey, only scattered outages were still active by the afternoon.

Throughout Florida, Duke was reporting nearly 8,500 total outages at 8:45 a.m. Saturday but that number stood at about 4,300 by 6 p.m.

Duke Energy spokesperson Ana Gibbs said Saturday’s outages were not due to the cold weather. Asked whether the utility foresaw any trouble in next few days, she said, “Duke Energy has enough power to meet our customers’ needs.”

Meanwhile, the company issued a statement regarding its customers in the Carolinas, saying “electricity supplies are very tight.” It urged customers in that market to conserve their energy use “until additional power is available.”

In Tampa Bay, temperatures in the early hours of Christmas Eve ranged from 27 degrees in Brooksville to 37 degrees in St. Petersburg. The reading for Tampa International Airport report was 32 degrees.

For the night of Christmas Eve, the National Weather Service forecast temperatures in the upper 20s in the Tampa Bay area. Partly sunny skies were predicted for Christmas Day, with a high of 47 degrees.

By New Year’s Eve, highs were expected to reach the 80s.

Times staff writer Sharon Wynne contributed to this report.

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