Even with Hurricane Florence over, North Carolina residents continue to feel its effects as many are still displaced or without power. These conditions not only impact the daily lives of residents but could also impact their ability to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Duke Energy released a statement on Sept. 19 that estimated 1.7 million customers lost power due to Hurricane Florence. Crews have restored power to 1.6 million customers, but that leaves 114,000 customers without power. “Many of the remaining impacted customers are located in coastal and inland areas that experienced historic flooding, multiple road closures and significant structural damage,” the statement said. Last week, Tideland EMC, which serves a portion of eastern North Carolina along the coast, reported that 77 percent of its customers were without power. Tideland has not yet released updated statistics.
Flooding of inland rivers has continued into this week. The National Weather Service said in a briefing that significant river flooding will continue, meaning some residents of flooded areas will still not be able to return home.
“Expect continued river flooding and lingering impacts from the significant rainfall to persist for several days or more, especially across the east and southeast portions of central N.C.,” the briefing stated. “Real flooding and standing water is occurring across much of central N.C.”
Although some residents can return home after the storm, voting will likely not be the first thing on their minds. The number of people that are displaced could also affect voter turnout and, in turn, election results.