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Day 4: More Help On The Way As 20,000 Remain Powerless After Hurricane Hermine

Talquin Electric works to restore power in Wakulla County following Hurricane Hermine. 99 percent of the county was without power after the storm.
Talquin Electric's twitter

Governor Rick Scott says the City of Tallahassee needs more help in restoring power to the more than 20,000 customers still in the dark. It’s been four days since Hurricane caused most of Leon County and the Big Bend to go dark. Local officials have been criticized for not accepting all the offers of assistance that they could have. Scott told reporters Monday evening more help is on the way.

“Duke has some additional resources they can add. FDOT has found some additional resources they think they can provide. So my hope is that over the next 24 hours we can see more progress," he said.

But the Governor also said as the number of people without power continues to shrink, it gets harder to get the rest up and running.

"This is not an issue of whether or not people are working hard, they are working hard," he said.

Meanwhile Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is on the hot seat due to a perceived slow recovery and critical areas such as nursing homes, remaining without power. Scott and Gillum have engaged in a back-and-forth over whether the city turned down assistance and when additional help was requested.

In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat on facebook live, Deputy City Manager Reese Goad explained the degree of the damage the city sustained to its electric grid. "It was a pretty devastating blow we were dealt," he said. "We have 150 circuits. Those are the big lines that come out of the sub-stations. Out of the 150 circuits, 117 were damaged."

During the interview, facebook users expressed frustration and anger with the pace of restoration, questioning whether the city was prepared for the impact of the storm. There were also questions about how one neighborhood could have power, while one across the street could not.

Critical need areas such as hospitals are usually the first to get power back during emergencies,  but two nursing homes--Seven Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center and Heritage Health Care of Tallahassee—were still without power by Monday evening. As the number of outages shrinks, it becomes harder to fix those that remain.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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