Almost 1 Million Lack Power as Matthew Death Toll Rises

  • Flooding remains after storm dissipates over Atlantic
  • Duke sees some customers without power until Saturday

Almost 1 million customers were still without power in the U.S. Southeast Monday after Hurricane Matthew brought devastating wind gusts and flooding to North Carolina, leaving at least 10 dead in the state.

Duke Energy Corp., owner of North Carolina’s largest utilities, estimated power may not be restored to some customers before Sunday. More than 153,000 were blacked out in Florida as of about 2 p.m. New York time Monday, with about 675,000 without power from Georgia to southeastern Virginia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from utility websites.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued flood warnings for parts of central and eastern North Carolina after as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain in some spots. The storm made landfall Saturday in South Carolina and has now dissipated in the Atlantic.

“Flooding, downed trees and power lines have resulted in major power outages to our region, and we have discovered more than 800 broken poles and miles of downed lines – and still counting,” Duke Energy storm director Bobby Simpson said in a Sunday statement. Flooded roads blocked some repairs, the company said.

Matthew appears to have spared Florida’s citrus belt, with “negligible” harm to oranges and about 10 percent of the grapefruit crop blown from trees, Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows said Monday by phone. Flooding will delay the cotton harvest in North Carolina and South Carolina and may reduce its quality, Kyle Tapley, a meteorologist for MDA Weather Services, said by phone Monday from Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Death Toll

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety said at least 10 people in the state died from the storm and five are missing. The death toll in the U.S. exceeded 20 after the storm earlier laid waste to Haiti, where it left hundreds dead.

Freight-rail service remained suspended from Savannah, Georgia, through Pembroke, North Carolina, CSX Corp. spokeswoman Melanie Cost said by e-mail Monday. Service in Florida has been restored except where CSX lines cross a passenger rail system in the Orlando area, she said.

NextEra Energy Inc.’s Florida Power & Light hadn’t restarted its St. Lucie Unit 2 power reactor that closed ahead of the storm last week, spokesman Peter Robbins said in an e-mail. No timetable for the unit’s restart was available, he said.

“Today is our first day of restoration,” Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Resources Inc. said in a Monday statement. Hazardous flooding and high winds curtailed repairs on Sunday, leaving about 136,500 homes and businesses without power in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, according to the statement.

Some companies resumed operations interrupted by the storm. Chevron Corp. said Monday its Florida terminals had resumed normal operations.

Resuming Operations

*Kinder Morgan Inc. fuel and freight terminals in the Southeast closed ahead of the storm were open and resuming operations Monday, except for one in Newport News, Virginia, spokesman Richard Wheatley said in a Monday e-mail. That site should resume full operations Tuesday, he said.

*Magellan Midstream Partners LP resumed operations at it Selma, North Carolina, terminal, company spokesman Bruce Heine said Sunday by e-mail. Florida was able to reopen all of its seaports, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

*Buckeye Partners LP, a fuel shipper, planned to resume operations at its Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville locations in Florida, as well as at terminals in Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina, and its Everglades pipeline early this week, according to a company statement. NuStar Energy LP reopened its products and biofuels terminal in Jacksonville, spokesman Chris Cho said by e-mail on Monday.

*Odfjell SE said operational resumption efforts began Sunday once power was restored at its North Charleston, South Carolina, terminal, John Scott, the shipping company’s director of U.S. operations said by e-mail Monday.

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