CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of people are still without power across the Carolinas after Tropical Storm Michael brought power lines down with heavy wind and rain.
According to Duke Energy spokesperson Scott Andresen, around 50,000 Duke Energy customers were without power in Mecklenburg County at one point during the day Thursday. Andresen also said around 500,000 customers across both North Carolina and South Carolina were without power at one time.
“It was a fast-moving storm,” said Andresen regarding Tropical Storm Michael. “Hurricane Florence was really slow-moving. It took a long time to get through our service territory which is why the outages lasted a little longer.”
He said close to 400 crews from across the country were being brought in to help restore power for residents of the Carolinas. The parking lot of Charlotte Motor Speedway was used as a staging area for the utility trucks.
“Once it’s over we send those damage assessors in, they assess the damage and then we can go to work and send our crews in to get power restored to our customers quickly and safely,” said Andresen.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to be patient when waiting for their power to be restored, reminding everyone that safety comes first.
“We understand you want your power. Power is almost a necessity of life now, but we want to make sure it’s safe for our crews and safe for our customers,” explained Andresen.
Highway 73 in Cabarrus County was completely shut down at one point Thursday. A power pole came toppling down along the highway during the storm. Residents like Tim Biggerstaff were left in the dark.
“It came up so fast and was moving so fast. I knew we were gonna have some pretty substantial winds when it got here,” said Biggerstaff.
Andresen reminds members of the public not to touch downed power lines or tree branches that are lying close to power lines.