Over 54,000 still without power in Carolinas after Florence

FILE PHOTO: Duke Energy crews work to restore power following Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression, in Rocky Point, North Carolina, U.S., September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder

(Reuters) - More than 54,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas were still without power on Friday, a week after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast on Sept. 14, according to local power companies.

That figure is down from a peak of over 2.2 million customers who were affected by the storm in several Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and New England states over the past week.

Flooding across the Carolinas was expected to worsen over the next couple of days, forecasters said. Officials say at least 40 people have been killed.

Duke Energy Corp DUK.N, the biggest utility in the Carolinas with over 4 million customers, said it had restored power to more than 1.7 million of its nearly 1.8 million customers affected by the storm.

The company said it expects to restore service to most customers by Sept. 26.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bernadette Baum