Gov. Scott Tours Southwest Florida After Irma

Sep 13, 2017
Originally published on September 12, 2017 10:42 pm

Gov. Rick Scott visited the Florida Power & Light staging area at Southwest Florida International Airport on Tuesday. He also visited flooded areas of Southwest Florida.

Utility trucks, prepping to restore power to the region were lined up far into the horizon. Scott briefly spoke to reporters about the power situation in the area. 

"I've been to shelters. I know everyone wants their power back," said Scott. "It's the biggest thing we can do right now, but we gotta be safe about it." 

He said 48 percent of Floridians are without power, and need to be cautious of downed power lines.

Florida Power & Light Vice President Rob Gould said 20,000 restoration workers have been split between the east and west coasts of the state.

"We expect to have all of our customers essentially restored by Friday, September 22," said Gould. 

Lee County Electronic Cooperative, or LCEC, said they're working on the main circuits in Immokalee and Everglades City, which had the worst impact.  It said 500 crews are working to restore power to everyone quickly and safely.

The Governor left the FPL staging area to visit flooded areas. 

Bonita Springs resident Luis Arrango told Scott the area was just flooded before Irma.

"Two weeks ago, I was real, real surprised that we got that much water," said Arrango.

And now, after a second deluge, in under a month, Arrango said he can't even get to his home because of impassible flood waters. 

Scott said Bonita Springs and other Florida communities that experience this type of major flooding need engineers to come up with long-term solutions. 

"If this is going to happen time and time again, then something's gotta change," he said. "We gotta figure out what's causing it. It's not just the rain. It's not just having a hurricane." 

Bonita Springs Mayor Peter Simmons said while the weather was bad, it brought out the best in people who make up this community. 

"It breaks my heart, obviously," said Simmons. "But what it also does is make you feel good because it bonds people together and you find out what people are made of at times like this."

The Governor pointed out that few have the financial resources to handle disasters like this, but neighborly help will go a long way as Florida strives toward recovery.  

Jill Roberts of WQCS contributed to this report. 

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