As the fourth day after Hurricane Irma stretched on, a fifth of the state remained without lights or air conditioning as energy companies worked to restore one of the largest power outages in the country's history.
As of 9 p.m. Thursday, about 2.1 million customers still didn't have power — down from the peak 6.7 million with outages reported across the state Monday afternoon. It took utility companies working round the clock since Monday with thousands of out-of-state workers to restore power to 4.4 million Florida customers rocked by Irma's strong winds. ...
Half of Irma's power outages restored, but lights still out for 3.3 million Florida homes, businesses09/13/17Energy
The lights are back for more than half of those who lost power during Hurricane Irma's trek through Florida.
But that's little consolation for the third of the state that remained without air conditioning or electricity well into the third day after the storm.
Scrambling utility workers restored power for more than 2 million Florida customers on Tuesday, but that left nearly 5 million households still in the dark after Hurricane Irma, including more than 834,000 in Tampa Bay.
And for some of them, relief from the record-setting statewide outage may not come until this weekend.
As of 6 p.m., about half of the Sunshine State was waiting for the lights to go back on. That's down from Monday night when 62 percent of the state's 10.5 million households were without power....
ST. PETERSBURG — In the middle of the night, Hurricane Irma's powerful winds broke a 113-foot dining yacht free from its mooring at the Corey Causeway in South Pasadena and pushed it five miles south through Boca Ciega Bay until the stern crashed into a Pinellas Bayway bridge.
ST. PETE BEACH — Keith Overton watched as Hurricane Irma ripped the Howard Johnson's roof from the building around 9 p.m. Sunday.
"It blew it all the way to the beach," Overton said. "At that point, we said it's time to go in for the night."
Waters retreated in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday night, exposing buoys that Overton said are normally about 75 yards back from the shoreline....
ST. PETERSBURG -- They prepared for a direct hit. They boarded their windows, stockpiled food and water, and spent Sunday night hunkered in the same bedroom.
But when morning came and they took the first tentative steps outside after Hurricane Irma had passed, the Jackson family was relieved.
"I feel lucky," Jeremy Jackson, 42, said Monday morning. "We were prepared for a direct hit and to be without power for days."...
ST. PETE BEACH — Andy Lawhead sat on the front porch of Pass-a-Grille's Sand Castle hotel on Sunday and looked out at the Gulf of Mexico.
"This could all be gone tomorrow," he mused, drinking coffee from a red cup.
09/10/17 Public Safety
Pinellas County sheriff's deputies blocked off access to St. Pete Beach and other barrier islands Sunday morning, but that doesn't concern Bill McKnight.
He waited out the 2004 hurricanes while living on his boat in Riverview, so staying in a home in St. Pete Beach doesn't bother him. Sure, there's storm surge, but McKnight, 51, been through that before.
If it was up to him, he'd stay in his house on Gulf Boulevard. But his wife, Lisa, 45, hasn't been through a hurricane like this before. So they decided to take shelter Sunday night at a friend's condo — just a few blocks down the road....
For those still on the fence about whether to evacuate Pinellas County in advance of Hurricane Irma, consider this: Each of the bridges out likely will be shut down at some point, blocking the main exits.
Florida Highway Patrol will close the Howard Frankland Bridge, Gandy Bridge and the Sunshine Skyway when wind speeds reach 40 mph, spokesman Steve Gaskins said.
The Courtney Campbell Causeway is not managed by FHP. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — A line of at least 130 people (and growing) spilled out of aisle 18 at the Home Depot on 22nd Avenue N on Friday morning as those hoping to protect their homes from mega storm Irma's winds waited on plywood.
Across the street, another hardware store was already sold out of the wood as people clamored to cover their windows in advance of the tropical storm- to hurricane-force winds expected in the area this weekend....
SEMINOLE — Angie Bunch, 79, thought she and her husband Rob were doing the right thing when they hit the road Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. and headed north to Valdosta, hoping of dodging Hurricane Irma.
They never expected traffic to be so bad that it would force them to turn around and drive back to their two-story Seminole home on a bayou....
The Florida Department of Transportation on Thursday announced some important measures being taken for Tampa Bay residents trying to leave the area because of Hurricane Irma.
Buses and other public transit will not run Sunday in Pinellas County as the area prepares for Hurricane Irma.
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will suspend all public transit services on Sunday, including the trolleys, the downtown looper and DART, its door-to-door service for people with disabilities. Services are expected to begin again on Monday, but are dependent on weather.
St. Petersburg City Council candidate Barclay Harless thinks the current council is too loose with its spending of taxpayer dollars.
Harless, a Democrat, met with the Tampa Bay Times’ editorial board Thursday to discuss his thoughts on affordable housing, the pier reconstruction and the issues with which the people of District 2 and the Gandy Blvd. corridor are most concerned....
Tampa Bay emergency agencies have already distributed more than 200,000 sand bags this week that many folks spent more than two hours in line waiting to get.
The city of Tampa gave out more than 16,500 bags at its three locations on Tuesday alone. In St. Petersburg, a queue of people wrapped around Bartlett Park waiting their turn on Wednesday....