Hurricane Irene knocked out power to about 420,000 customers in North Carolina and Virginia as the storm came ashore today.

The hardest-hit areas appeared to be near the border between the two states, including Norfolk and Williamsburg, Virginia, and Wilmington, North Carolina.

The damage so far is not as bad as expected, said Julia Milstead, a spokeswoman for Progress Energy Inc. (PGN) Progress reported about 250,000 customers had lost power in North Carolina. Crews already were beginning repairs in some areas between rain bands, Milstead said.

“We feel like we’re in a pretty good spot right now compared to what everybody here and across the country anticipated yesterday,” she said.

Dominion Resources Inc. reported about 167,000 customers without power in North Carolina and Virginia as of about 11:30 a.m. local time. The company has 2,300 line workers standing by for repairs across North Carolina, Karl Neddenien, a spokesman said.

Irene’s winds are expected to linger over the state for the next 24 hours.

“We’re not done yet,” Neddenien said.

Progress has about 1,000 line and tree workers staged across its service area in the Carolinas prepared to tackle outages, three times the normal number, Milstead said.