Hurricane Michael could leave up to 500,000 in the dark in Carolinas, but for how long?

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Duke Energy expects that Hurricane Michael could cause up to half a million power outages in North and South Carolina, the utility announced Wednesday as the storm made landfall and began its overland approach.

Between 300,000 and 500,000 power outages could occur in the Carolinas “based on the storm’s current forecasted track,” the utility said in a news release.

The outage projection is “based on the company’s storm modeling tool, which analyzes variables including storm magnitude and track, wind speed, size of the wind field and ground saturation,” according to Duke Energy.

And it could take days to get the power back on in some areas, “depending on the extent of damage, crews’ ability to access remote areas, and conditions such as flooding after the storm,” Duke Energy said.

“We know this is an extremely difficult time, especially for many of our customers who have already endured the impacts of Hurricane Florence – a storm some would consider a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event,” Howard Fowler, Duke Energy’s incident commander for the Carolinas, said in a statement.

Duke Energy said it had nearly 6,000 workers, “including power line technicians, damage assessors and tree specialists” ready, but “work cannot begin until the storm has passed and repair crews can safely access damaged areas.”

That can take 24 hours or more after the brunt of the storm passes, the utility said.

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