As several thousand customers remain without power Saturday after Hurricane Irma lashed Florida, officials say those in South Florida could remain on that list into the week.
As of 10:15 a.m. Monday, Florida Power & Light said just under 53,000 of those customers are in Miami-Dade County. Just under 13,000 customers were affected in Broward County.
Florida Power & Light expects those living in southeastern Miami-Dade County to have their power restored by Tuesday night, and customers in Broward County by Monday.
Officials at a press conference Tuesday said the plan is to have the East Coast back up and running by the weekend, with an exception for areas hit by tornadoes, flooding and severe damage. Officials said they're working to restore power in the eastern part of the state first before working their way west.
Crews have been staying for days at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, where about 800 utility trucks and cars were parked before being sent out.
"Our ownership was very very emphatic that we do anything to help the community to help out FPL," said Matthew Caldwell, president and CEO of the Florida Panthers. "We spoke on Monday and told them we'd open up the arena for them. Starting on Thursday night we had hundreds of workers being staged here. We got hundreds of cots for everyone to sleep on and it was great. Final count, we had over two thousand workers."
The company said they have assembled the largest pre-storm restoration workforce in U.S. history, more than 17,000 workers, to deal with the aftermath of Irma.
"The storm here is much larger than Wilma. This is the first time in our company's history that we've had all 35 counties, 27,000 square miles of our service territory hit," FPL president and CEO Eric Silagy said.
Spokesman Rob Gould said thousands of miles of poles and lines will need to be replaced, particularly on the Gulf coast.
FPL also warned customers of impersonators, advising residents to take the proper steps in identifying FPL workers. FPL said customers should ask workers for their FPL photo ID badge and make sure they are in marked trucks. Also, FPL workers never need to enter your home.
The power companies said they have extra crews on hand to try to restore power — once it's safe to do so. Gould said workers from as far away as California and Massachusetts are already stationed around the state, but it will take time to rebuild the system.
The utility covers much of the state, including most cities on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast south of Tampa. It does not cover Tampa and St. Petersburg, two major cities in Irma's forecast path.
Strong winds and heavy rains were causing flooding and downed trees throughout the state. The eye of the hurricane made landfall at 9:10 a.m. at Cudjoe Key.
In Miramar, people and their pets were holed up in a Hilton Garden Inn, a makeshift shelter which lost power amid heavy wind and horizontal rain.
"When you live on A/C all the time, it’s a bummer,” a woman taking shelter at the hotel told NBC 6. Having no power sucks, but it could be worse, so just waiting it out."
The hotel was handing out free ice cream before it melts.
A Hollywood family was among those without power in Broward County Sunday after a power line to their home snapped and fell into their backyard pool.
Fernando Gimenez called NBC 6 to report what happened at his home on North 66th Avenue near Johnson Street.
Gimenez, who said he's a licensed electrician, said he was concerned because the power lines were still energized. He said the firefighters that arrived told him they didn't have the equipment needed to cut the power and that FPL needed to respond.
Gimenez reported smoke coming from the electric panel inside his home also and worried about his home catching on fire.
"The pool right now is hot...inside the house we had smoke coming in through the panel," Gimenez said. "We don't have power inside the house.
"We have a 92-year-old person inside the room, and we don’t know what to do. They told us to go sit in the cars, turn the cars on, but that’s dangerous, too."
The National Weather Service reports the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph when it made landfall Sunday morning. A gust to 106 mph was reported at the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key.
After hitting the Florida Keys, Irma continued up the state's Gulf Coast later Sunday, making landfall again in Naples.
At least seven power lines were reported down at Broward's Emergency Operations Center.
"We expect that we will see more power lines downed, that's just the nature of the beast, unfortunately," said Julie Roulhet, FPL spokesperson. "We can't fight Mother Nature, but we are ready to fight what she does after the storm."
Key Energy Services, which serves the Lower Keys, said nearly all of its customers were out of power, some 28,567 people. The Keys Electric Cooperative Association that serves the Upper and Middle Keys reported 21,387 of 33,000 accounts don't have power.
Hundreds of thousands waited out the brunt of the storm in darkness, as heavy winds ripped down power lines.
The heavy rains also led to some street flooding. Areas affected include Biscayne Boulevard near southeast First Street in Downtown Miami. Floodwaters were seven inches deep along Northwest 192nd Street in Northwest Miami-Dade.
A man riding out a storm in his mobile park home in Florida City in Miami-Dade County told NBC 6 the weather "got ugly" around 5 a.m., bringing 120 mph winds which knocked down power lines and brought down tree limbs. He said his home lost power but it came back soon after.
He said he chose to ride out the storm in his mobile home because "people are quick to rob those places."
Street flooding was also reported along Northeast 29th Terrace in Miami. Water from Biscayne Bay sprayed over the seawall with heavy winds and rain rolling through the area contributed to the flooding.
Miami Beach is also seeing street flooding including 31st Street and Collins Avenue.
Boats docked at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove were rocking in the water due to whipping winds from Irma early Sunday morning. There was also some storm surges at the marina.
Fifty-year-old Dan Rodriguez was hunkered down with his parents in Tamiami Lakes and by Sunday they also had no electricity.
"40 to 60 mph gusts with nonstop rain and loss of power," he texted. “Still happy no direct hit."
Rodriguez, who splits his time between his parents’ home and Brickell, the city’s financial center where there was a mandatory evacuation order, remembered the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and worried about staying.
"Evacuation wasn’t a choice for me," he said before the storm hit Florida. “My two parents are still alive.”
His mother is 83, his father, 81, and they did not want to chance running out of gas or not finding a place to stay, he said.
Trees have toppled from the strong winds including a Lauderhill tree that once stood at least 30 feet tall. The root network was so large, it took part of the ground with it when it came down.
Strong winds split a large mahogany tree in half on NE 24 Avenue a few blocks from Ives Dairy. The tree blocks the entire road.
Downed powerlines were also reported at U.S. 27 and Stirling Road in Weston - while in other areas, including on Southwest 104th Street in Pinecrest, trees were reported down.
On Northwest 198th Terrace in northwest Miami-Dade, a large tree appeared to have fallen on a home.
In Coconut Grove, firefighters responded after a tree fell on to a power line.
An FPL spokesperson told NBC News that the nuclear power plants located at Turkey Point in Miami-Dade County and one in St. Lucie will remain open at this time, and a decision will be made at a later point based on weather conditions.