Restoring power to Wilmington could take weeks, mayor says

Posted at 1:23 PM, Sep 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-15 15:23:39-04

Florence, which made landfall as a hurricane Friday and is now a tropical storm, has claimed lives, knocked out power, and sent more than 25,000 people in North and South Carolina and Virginia to shelters. One of the harder-hit areas is the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina, where just hours after Florence made landfall a tree collapsed on a family’s home, killing a mother and her infant.

Rescuers have saved about 500 people so far in North Carolina alone.

“CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor spoke to Wilmington Mayor Bill Safo, who had a message to residents who evacuated: Don’t come back yet.

“Give us the time to get these roads cleared and give us the time to get the power crews in here to start getting the power back on,” he said. “There’s really no reason to come back until we get that done. And right now they would be in our way because we’ve got so much debris in the road it’s going to take some time and we haven’t had a chance to get out there because the storm has been upon us for two days.”

According to Safo, most of the city is without power – and could be for weeks.

“We’ve got so many trees down. … We didn’t think this was going to be a significant wind event, but it seems like it became a big wind event for us here in the city,” Safo said.

“It could be weeks. Literally weeks,” he said. “We’ve got so many trees down, so much power outage just all over the place.”

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the storm was moving west at a pace of just 2 mph.

“The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Saturday morning.