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More than 50,000 without power on Cape Fear Coast

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As Hurricane Irene continues to hit the North Carolina coast, about 279,569 Progress Energy customers state-wide are without power as of 2 p.m. today.

New Hanover County is the most affected county in the state with 42,000 customers still without power, though that number has dwindled from 58,000 earlier this morning. Pender County also saw some lights come back on, with 8,500 still seeing outages, down from 10,000 at 10 a.m. 6,800 customers are still affected in Columbus County.

Crews responded to outages as early as Friday afternoon and worked into Friday night until worsening weather conditions made it unsafe to do so.

Progress Energy has more than 1,000 line workers, tree crews and support staff from five states – more than three times the normal complement of workers in the region – and crews are ready to conduct damage assessment and begin large-scale repairs as soon as weather conditions permit. To ensure their safety, crews cannot work in winds of 39 mph or higher.

Progress Energy expects the restoration to take several days in the hardest-hit areas. To report an outage, you can call them at (800) 419-6356.

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