September 14, 2018 / 12:43 PM / 9 days ago

Over 895,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

(Reuters) - U.S. power companies said over 895,000 homes and businesses located mostly in North Carolina and South Carolina were without power on Friday after Florence hit the Southeast coast.

Florence crashed into the Carolina coast on Friday, felling trees, dumping nearly three feet (0.91 m) of rain on some spots and leading to the deaths of at least four people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

At 1700 EDT (2100 GMT), Tropical Storm Florence was about 25 miles (45 km) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million and 3 million outages. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including over 8,000 from Duke’s Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities.

Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru, editing by G Crosse

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