Weather & Natural Disasters

Duke Energy leader: Florence is 'absolutely the worst' storm I've ever seen as a lifelong NC resident

Key Points
  • Duke Energy's North Carolina president says the impact of Florence on his state has been the most severe he's ever experienced.
  • Duke Energy still has about 300,000 outages in the Carolinas. That's down from some 1.4 million in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane.
Florence is the worst I've seen, says Duke Energy N.C.'s president

David Fountain, president of Duke Energy's North Carolina operations, told CNBC on Monday the impact from Hurricane Florence on his state has been the most severe he's ever experienced.

"I've lived in North Carolina my entire life, and I've seen a lot of bad storms, a lot of bad hurricanes. But this is absolutely the worst," he said.

In a "Squawk Box" interview, Fountain described Hurricane Matthew, which slammed the Carolinas in 2016, as a "100-year flood." Matthew caused $10.3 billion in estimated damage.

"I thought that [Matthew] would be the worst I've ever saw in my life. But this [Florence] certainly surpasses that," he said.

Florence made landfall on Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, a resort town just east of the state's eighth-largest city, Wilmington, which has been completely cut off by surrounding floodwaters.

At least 18 storm-related deaths have been reported in the region.

The threat of more flooding continues as rivers in the Carolinas begin to crest in the coming days, even as the remnants of Florence tracked northward after dumping days of drenching rain.

Fountain, 51, said about 300,000 Duke Energy households and businesses remained in the dark as of Monday morning.

"With 1.4 million customers having been impacted, we're pleased with the restoration progress ... especially under such challenging conditions," he said. "But we've got a lot more work to do."

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