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Hurricane Irene made landfall at Cape Lookout on August 27, 2011. With hurricane force winds extending ninety miles out and tropical storm winds extending 290 miles, the storm moved slowly northward at fifteen miles an hour, creating a wide path of destruction. Gery recounts how the storm affected electric cooperatives in the eastern part of the state.
Sandhills Utility Services was formed by four North Carolina electric cooperatives to run the electric power system for Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base and Camp Mackall. Once the nation’s base realignment is complete, the Fort Bragg area population could grow by over forty-thousand military personnel, civilian employees and residents.