Orange County leaders give update on Ian response

County has contractors ready to clear debris once storm passes, officials say

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (File) (Orange County government)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County officials held a press conference on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. to give updates on the county’s response to Ian’s aftermath.

Mayor Mayor Jerry Demings said the county received anywhere from 10 to 16 inches of rain, depending on the area, with an average of 11.6 inches.

Duke Energy officials said that they have 160,000 without power, which represents about 41-42% of people in the county who are services by Duke. An OUC representative said that 54,000 customers in Orange County and 1,500 in St. Cloud are without power, about 20% of their service territory.

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Emergency Manager Lauraleigh Avery said the county is under a flash flood warning until 2:45 a.m. at least. She added that the county is expected to see between 12 and 20 inches of rain.

“Now, in some locations, we could receive up to 30 inches,” she said. “So that means (residents) need to stay sheltered and stay at home, not be driving around on the streets right now because it only takes a couple of inches of water to move a car.”

Avery said Orange County is set to see the strongest winds between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday morning.

“Those are the worst impacts that we expect to see, other than the ongoing rain and the flooding,” she said. “That (wind) can take trees down, power lines down, it can take roofs off the houses — it just depends on the wind field and where it’s located. So it can do extensive damage.”

Once the storm passes, the county will have crews out assessing damage and clearing debris.

“We should be able to get out there and get the debris picked up quickly and try to get Orange County back to normal as soon as possible,” Avery said. “We don’t want people to worry. We want them to stay home. Just stay safe.”

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.