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 locations entered the 30s, with some in the 20s.

But utility repair crews made progress throughout the morning, with many customers seeing their power restored as the day wore on.

In Hillsborough County, more than 2,100 outages reported earlier in the morning in the Wimauma area were eventually restored. Tampa Electric initially reported more than 2,300 outages in its service area, but that number dropped to 121 as of 6 p.m. Saturday. A new outage report at 92 Temple Terrace was still active at the time, with an estimated service restoration time of 10:10 p.m.

In Pinellas County, nearly 600 customers were still without power as of 6 p.m. in an area of ​​Bryan Dairy Road west of US 19 in the center of the county. Duke’s online outage tracking statement said the cause was “extreme weather in or around the area.” An outage with more than 250 customers in Seminole appears to have been resolved.

In Pasco County, after 121 outages were reported in New Port Richey, only scattered outages were active by afternoon.

Across Florida, Duke reported nearly 8,500 total outages as of 8:45 a.m. Saturday, but that number was down to about 4,300 by 6 p.m.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Ana Gibbs said Saturday’s outages were not due to cold weather. Asked if the utility anticipated any problems in the coming days, he said, “Duke Energy has enough power to meet the needs of our customers.”

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

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

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

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

Times staff member Sharon Wynne contributed to this report.

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