Reports of Hurricane Florence’s size and power were widely reported, though it was downgraded to merely a Category 1 hurricane, and when it hit the Carolina coast on Friday morning, the hurricane proved it was formidable by knocking out power in thousands of homes. Its storm surges are expected to be catastrophic when they hit.
In North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Safety reported that about 485,143 people were without power, while according to The Post and Courier, more than 32,000 people were reported to be without power in South Carolina.
North Carolina counties Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Wake, and Wayne were hit the worst and had the majority of the power outages Fox News reported. Horry County, which is on the coast, was actually hit the worst and accounts for 80 percent of the outages in the state. This is because two of its transmission lines in the area, belonging to state-owned utility service Santee Cooper, shorted out.
However, even those inland are majorly affected. Duke Energy is in charge of supplying power to a large portion of North and South Carolina residents: nearly 75 percent of residents, or about 3 million people. In order to combat any outages, Duke Energy has gotten more than 10,000 of their own employees on standby and requested and received assistance for more than 2,000 workers from other states not being hit by the hurricane.
— Duke Energy (@DukeEnergy) September 14, 2018
Despite the precautions and extra assistance utility services, like Duke Energy, have taken, it may still be days before any work can be done to restore power. This is because the utility services must wait until the winds fall below tropical storm force before they can dispatch any workers into the field.
The storm has only just made land and still has the power to continue to move inland despite its deflated category, which means that it is incredibly likely that even more people will continue to lose power in both states. Meanwhile, both states are still braced for the impact of the storm surge that will follow. South Carolina, in particular, is at risk for continued power outages as it has soft soil, and with the high winds, many trees are likely to be toppled and add to the mayhem.
This means that crews most likely will not be able to begin repairs until some time after the weekend, which means that Carolina residents who have lost power have a long weekend in the dark still ahead of them.