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Bob Buckhorn says power restoration is biggest issue for Tampa after Irma

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Mayor Bob Buckhorn says restoring electricity to the hundreds of thousands of citizens in Tampa currently without it is issue number one the day after Hurricane Irma barreled through Florida Sunday night.

“It’s power,” the mayor told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” when asked what was the biggest problem facing his city. “We know how miserable this place can be for one day without air conditioning, you go two, three, four days and it’s not going to be very pleasant, so getting that power restored I think is going to be critical.”

Cherie Jacobs, a spokesperson for Tampa Electric, said earlier on Monday that some 300,000 residences — approximately 40% of their entire customer base — were without power. TECO services Hillsborough County and parts of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

There is a fair amount of downed trees and power lines throughout the city, with some blocking roads. Buckhorn said he believes city crews working to clear the streets up should be done within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Buckhorn rescinded the city wide curfew he imposed last night shortly after 8 a.m. Monday. Controversy arose on Sunday afternoon after Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said Buckhorn did not have the authority to call for such a curfew.

The mayor and interim Police Chief Brian Dugan spent a few minutes at a news conference Sunday just hours before Irma was scheduled to hit the city to warn residents that they would be in trouble if they appeared outside after 6 p.m. “If you are out on the streets after six o’clock, we are going to challenge you and find out what you’re doing out there,” Dugan said. There have not been any reports of looting.

The mayor said that City Hall will be open for business on Tuesday.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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