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Power impact from Matthew nowhere near Hurricane Sandy

The early October storm impacted 6 million fewer consumers than Category 1 Sandy.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Power impact from Matthew nowhere near Hurricane Sandy
A view of Hurricane Matthew from the International Space Station. The Category 3 storm left far fewer power outages in its wake than Hurricane Sandy, a Category 1 storm. NASA/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Though some states are still coping with flooding from Hurricane Matthew, data from the Energy Department finds outages were far less than from Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Matthew was a Category 3 storm when it hit the east coast of Florida in early October. The storm left hundreds of people dead in Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean before it turned north to impact states to Virginia before heading out to sea.

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Matthew caused widespread power outages up and down the Atlantic Coast.

"Total outages reached their peak level on October 9, with roughly 2.5 million residential, commercial, and industrial electricity customers without service across five states," the EIA said.

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In terms of total numbers, Florida's outages impacted about 1 million people, which is about 10 percent of the state's total electricity customers. The 800,000 peak outages in South Carolina, meanwhile, represented about 30 percent of the total state customers.

Motor club AAA reported that Matthew forced the closure of fuel terminals in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Most of the coastal ports reopened in the region by the time remnants of Matthew moved out to sea, however the storm caused short-term gasoline shortages and skewed the national average price at the pump higher.

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, regional governors in the northeastern states impacted by the storm enacted gasoline rationing programs, by which motorists were eligible to buy fuel based on license-plate numbers

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At the peak, roughly 8.5 million customers were without power because of Hurricane Sandy, a Category 1 storm. Energy infrastructure was challenged further by a nor'easter that followed Sandy onshore.

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