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Hurricane power

Electric crews are lined up Friday in Tallahassee, Florida, to help restore power after Hurricane Michael.

Crews from Lincoln Electric System and Grand Island Utilities arrived in Florida early Friday morning to help provide mutual aid to utilities in the hard-hit Florida Panhandle.

A nine-vehicle LES contingent consisting of 14 employees left Wednesday morning along with a six-person crew from Grand Island to help restore electric service in areas hit by Hurricane Michael. LES spokeswoman Rachel Barth said the crews made it to Tallahassee, Florida, at 1 a.m. Friday.

Nearly 1.5 million people were without power in five states as of Friday morning, including more than 300,000 in Florida.

Barth said the teams had received their assignments and were out working.

"They are reporting lines are down everywhere, trees obstructing roads, broken utility poles, widespread outages, etc.," she said in an email.

Barth said close to 90 percent of Tallahassee customers have been reported to be without power, and other communities in the area were reporting 100 percent outages.

The hurricane, one of the strongest ever to hit the U.S. with 155 mph winds, has so far been blamed for 17 deaths and caused extensive damage to areas where it came ashore in Florida.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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