Jul 06, 2023

Crews work to get lights back on after more than 26,000 customers lose power in Columbia County

Aaron Farrar, News4Jax reporter

Khalil Maycock, Reporter, Jacksonville

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – Clean-up has started in Columbia County--but the sheriff’s office is asking residents to stay off the roads if they don’t have to drive.

That’s because some traffic signals aren’t working, roads still have debris on them and there are some downed powerlines.

At least 27,000 Columbia County customers were without power Wednesday evening after Hurricane Idalia blew threw the area and left widespread damage.

According to outage maps as of 5 p.m., 10,950 Florida Power & Light customers had no power and 16,962 Clay Electric customers also had no power. That accounts for more than 92% of Clay Electric’s customers in the county, according to its outage map.

Crews for both companies were out working to restore the power for residents but it was unclear how long it would take.

The power outages forced the school district to cancel school Thursday.

“Many residents are without power and our shelters cannot send people home until they have power,” the district said in a statement. “Most dirt roads are not drivable therefore buses will not be able to run their routes. We want all of our students and staff to be safe and focus on their homes and restoring them back to normal. At this time all schools will operate as normal on Friday, September 1, 2023.”

At least one of the outages happened at the intersection of Colburn Avenue and Pearce Lane where a large tree fell on a power line.

Several powerlines also fell onto Lochlynn Terrace, which is a few minutes away from downtown.

A few people who live on the street used their own orange cones to alert drivers of the power lines.

“My first reaction was to make sure that nobody jumped on the road. Vehicles traveling that could catch the wires. Securing my yard. Making sure there were not any fires. Then we got with the neighbors and got some cones together so that we can block the road off,” said resident Charles Brush. “were wires hanging across the road. So we went to ensure that no one got those hooked under their vehicle caused more damage.”

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.