(Reuters) - U.S. Southeast power companies said more than 19,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina were without on Thursday power as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast.
Florence is a Category 2 storm in the Atlantic Ocean with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (169 kph). It is expected to hit the coast with winds of 100 mph on Friday, according to the latest U.S. National Hurricane Center report.
Duke Energy Corp , the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers in the Carolinas, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, the utility warned.
Duke said it has more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allow, including over 8,000 from the Duke's Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the company's Midwest utilities, 1,200 from the company's Florida utility and another 9,400 from other utilities.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino)