Hurricane Idalia destroys power company’s infrastructure in Columbia County; 18,000 still without power

Columbia County’s emergency management director said Hurricane Idalia destroyed some infrastructure a power company needs to get back online.

As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, more than 18,000 customers in the county were still without power, according to the state.

The power issues have forced the school district to extend closures and students will not return to class until Tuesday after the holiday weekend.

Line crews were out working hard on Thursday, and they have a big task ahead.

Just across the street from where crews were working, people loaded up on gas for generators and said they’ll be patient. They are just grateful the storm wasn’t worse.

“They’re doing their best so we appreciate them,” one resident said of the workers.

One person who was getting gas for their generator said their power went out at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

“This will last me, I filled it up one time, and it lasts almost about a day and a half so mine does pretty good on gas but still you have to run so much stuff,” they said. “So we’ve been out for a little over 24 hours. That’s what we’re waiting on, for the Gator game tonight.”

A few people in the area said they had to drive around to find a gas station because many of them were out of power as well.

Another man said his power came on Wednesday night, but he was filling up gas to help his neighbors.

“Mines on, so I might as well help them get on,” he said.

In Lake City neighborhoods, the sound of generators reverberated through the streets.

Right outside those neighborhoods were linemen working to restore the power. They’ve been all over the area. Fleets of line trucks were seen on multiple streets.

Residents said they are grateful for the linemen’s efforts and they understand that it may be a while before they get their power back.

Until then, everybody is doing their part.

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