Just under 700,000 people are without power across North Carolina due to high winds, devastating storm surge and catastrophic flooding caused by Florence Friday.

In Mecklenburg County, Duke Energy reported just over 30,000 outages as of 12:30 p.m. North Carolina Emergency Management tweeted that just under 700,000 customers statewide were without electricity. The number of homes without power is expected to dramatically increase over the next few days, with Duke expecting millions of outages across the state.

Duke Energy brought hundreds of crews to a staging area at the Charlotte Motor Speedway where there was a small army of utility trucks. The workers arrived just as Florence began to make an impact in the Queen City.

One tree came down in front of Frances Beach’s home. Ironically, she said the tree was planted shortly after Hurricane Hugo took out a tree. Beach saw another tree down on the other side of town.

“I thought I’ve got mine over with they’ve got theirs over with who is next?” she said.

City crews responded to trees down at several other locations around Charlotte. On Marvin Road, drivers had to hit the brakes because a tree came down across the road.

“Getting ready to head out and got to turn around,” one driver said.

The impacts are only expected to get worse in the hours to come. Duke Energy brought in 1,000 linemen and other workers to a staging area in Concord. They’ll be deployed to the hardest hit areas.

“All the lineman staged here and ready to go to the coast and respond to the really urgent need, that’s going to slow down response times in Charlotte as well,” said Bill Norton with Duke Energy.

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