Hurricane Florence Leaves Over Half a Million in the Dark

September 14, 2018, 7:16 PM UTC

Hurricane Florence has knocked out power for more than half a million people less than 24 hours after coming ashore in North Carolina.

More than 615,849 customers have lost power as of 2 pm Friday, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Florence touched down early Friday as a category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, quickly knocking out power.

Originally rated as a category 4 storm, East Coasters began preparing for high winds and rain earlier this week. Over 1 million people are under evacuation warnings, with 10 million more under storm watches and warnings, CBS News reports.

The most affected areas are in North Carolina, particularly the counties of Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Johnston, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Sampson, Wake, and Wayne.

According to Duke Energy, the largest electrical provider in the Carolinas, between 1 and 3 million people in South and North Carolina may be left without power after Hurricane Florence.

“We anticipate Hurricane Florence to be a historic storm that will impact all customers,” a company spokesperson told Reuters. Duke Energy provides power to 4 million people across the Carolinas.

Despite having 20,000 employees on standby to work on restoring power, Duke Energy said it could take weeks to repair Florence’s damage.

Last year, Hurricane Matthew left 1.5 million Duke customers without power and cost the company $125 million in power line repairs, The Weather Channel reports.