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Rain, Floods And Outages Continue To Plague Carolinas Into Monday Morning Due To Florence

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Although Florence is now a tropical storm, it is still wreaking havoc in the two Carolinas. According to the Monday, September 17 edition of the Charlotte Observer, hundreds of thousands of household and businesses are still without power. The paper reports 12,312 residences of Mecklenburg County are without power as of Monday morning at about 7 a.m.

The paper also reported that Duke Energy, the largest electric utility in the two Carolinas, said that more than 400,000 customers across the Carolinas remained without power at 5 p.m. Sunday –- 381,000 in North Carolina and 23,000 in South Carolina. Duke’s last power outage bulletin was published on the company’s website on Sunday, September 16. In that report, the utility said that it had restored power to more than 1 million customers of 1.4 million total outages as a result of Florence.

Duke claimed that some of the most challenging power restoration work is ahead in inaccessible coastal regions that suffered major flooding and structural damage.

Over the weekend, Duke Energy sent crews and equipment out as close as possible to heavily impacted areas.

More outages were expected for Sunday night.

Twelve counties in North Carolina were hardest hit. More than 75 percent of Duke Energy customers have lost power in:

  • Beaufort
  • Bladen
  • Brunswick
  • Carteret
  • Columbus
  • Duplin
  • Jones
  • New Hanover
  • Onslow
  • Pender
  • Pitt
  • Robeson

According to Duke Energy, more than 20,000 workers have been dispatched to restore power. However, work is being delayed due to widespread flooding that has closed several major highways and secondary roads.

Due to the flooding and winds, damage assessment, the first action to be taken in the process of restoring power, has been difficult. Times of power restoration in certain regions have been difficult to ascertain.

Duke said that some assessments were performed on Sunday using helicopters in some areas.

The company has designated 12 areas for restoration across the Carolinas where customers can get updates on when power will be restored. A map of these areas is constantly being updated.

Duke also plans to send updated text messages to customers who have been affected by the storm.

The company warns that restoration could take weeks rather than days in some regions due to flooding and widespread damage to power lines, utility poles and other crucial elements of the electric grid.

Duke has published tips for customers who may suffer extended outages that include:

  • Never use a generator indoors. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep at least one battery-powered flashlight where it can be located easily in the dark.
  • Listen for storm information on battery-powered radio.
  • Keep an extra supply of fresh batteries.
  • Never use outdoor grills to heat interiors of homes.

The Monday morning edition of the Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier reports that as of Sunday, that there were about 61,000 power outages in the state.

It is not known how many households were equipped with a standby generator in North and South Carolina when Florence walked through the two states. However, if you live in one of the Carolinas and you have a standby generator then you dodged a bullet as far as power outages are concerned. Whether your family hunkered down and waited out the storm or evacuated, your generator made sure that food stored in your refrigerators and freezers remained edible and that medications stored in refrigerators remain potent. Obviously, if you hunkered down then your experience was a lot more pleasant than others who may have stayed in their homes, but did not have a generator.

Many of today’s standby generators feature Wi-Fi so that owners can control them with a smartphone from wherever they are on the planet. This is a great feature that no doubt North and South Carolina residents were able to take advantage of if they evacuated their homes to seek safety farther inland or in another state. When they return home they don’t have to replenish their supply of spoiled food or medications.

For those residents who did not have a standby generator, chalk up Florence as a learning experience that shows the importance of having a generator on hand to assist in surviving the aftermath of any natural disaster.

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