Florida power outage: Irma leaves more than 6.5 million in the dark

Last Updated Sep 11, 2017 1:29 PM EDT

Nearly 7.2 million homes and businesses are without power in multiple states as Tropical Storm Irma moves through the Southeast.

The vast majority were in Florida. The state's emergency management officials said the storm cut power to more than 6.5 million account holders across the state as of Monday afternoon. 

Eric Silagy, the CEO of Florida Power & Light, said Irma caused the most widespread damage in the company's history. It affected all 35 counties in the utility's territory which is most of the state's Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast south of Tampa. The most extensive damage was likely in the Naples area, but a full assessment was ongoing. He said 19,500 electric workers have been deployed in the restoration effort.

Still, he said, it will take days for many people to be restored and, in some cases where the damage was extensive, weeks. 

Meanwhile, Duke Energy reported Monday morning that more than 860,000 of the homes and businesses it serves in Florida were without power. 

Georgia reported more than 570,000 homes and businesses without electricity, and there were 80,000 in South Carolina.

The storm's maximum sustained winds decreased Monday morning to 65 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says it's expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

Irma is centered about 70 miles east of Tallahassee, Florida, and is moving north-northwest at 17 mph.

Crews will go house to house in the Florida Keys looking for people who need help. Irma destroyed roadways, isolating many who didn't evacuate when it slammed into the island chain Sunday morning.