INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – More than 500 Florida Power and Light and Vero Beach electric customers remained without power Monday afternoon as crews worked on restoring electrical lines downed by falling trees and errant tree limbs.
About a half-dozen power outages within the city’s grid were reported in the area of 18th Street and 36th Avenue and Colonial Terrace, according to Vero Beach Electric Director of Transmission and Distribution Randall McCamish.
Power was expected to be restored by 3:30 p.m.
One area crews were still working was US 1 at 4th Street where a crane blew over in the 50-mile-an-hour wind gust, knocking down power lines there.
Traffic was slowed or stopped in the area temporarily as crews worked to raise the line.
McCamish said most, if not all, the outages overnight were due to either tree limbs being blown into power lines or trees themselves being blown over, toppling the lines.
The overnight storm Monday delivered 1.87 inches of rain (well off the record of 2.70 inches in 1997) and had sustained winds of 37 miles per hour around 3 a.m. It had blown out of the area by about 10 a.m.
At its worst, McCamish estimated about 800 customers without power at some point overnight.
One outage was in the area of Rosewood Magnet Elementary School on 16th Street, which spanned both sides of the road and affected several residences, including area apartment complexes and a townhome community.
That outage occurred around 3 a.m. and power did not return until nearly 8 a.m.
Greg Brostowicz, a spokesman for Florida Power and Light, said that as of 12:30 p.m. Monday, approximately 500 customers were without power.
He attributed the outages to the storm’s high winds and lightning, noting that last night’s storm registered 7,000 lightning strikes. By comparison, the entire month of April 2009 logged about that many.
“We had a lot of disruptions to service,” Brostowicz said, adding that FP&L had been monitoring the storms and had crews staged throughout the area to get started on returning power as soon as it was safe to commence work.
At its height, Brostowicz estimates a “few thousand” customers went without power at some point during the storm.
“It’s almost like a roller coaster,” he said of estimating the number of customers affected, explaining that crews would restore power to one area only to have another area go down.
The forecast for the rest of the day was to reach the mid-80s by the afternoon. With the clearing of mid-morning storm clouds, rain should not be a factor for the area until Thursday with a 20 percent chance of showers being called for the rest of the week. Temperatures are predicted for the 70s and 80s through Sunday.