Storms cause damage; thousands still without power

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A string of strong spring thunderstorms went through several West Michigan counties Saturday, causing damage and knocking out power to thousands of people.

Trees were uprooted after a storm went through Muskegon County (April 12, 2014).
(Trees were uprooted after a storm went through Muskegon County. April 12, 2014).

Various rescue crews were still working Sunday to clear fallen trees and remove power lines from the road after straightline winds caused damage to areas in Muskegon, Newaygo, northern Kent and Montcalm counties.

Photos: Spring storm damage

More than 135,000 homes and businesses statewide were affected by outages, according to Consumers Energy. By Tuesday afternoon, power had been restored to nearly everyone, though Consumers said some people in Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties may not have power restored until Wednesday.

You can see a map of Consumers outages by clicking this link.

Consumers Energy spokesman Dennis McKee told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday afternoon the storm moved along a straight line from Muskegon to Flint, which he said has allowed crews to work in both heavily populated and rural areas simultaneously. He said Consumers has brought in 25 crews from Indiana and Ohio to aid its normal crews in getting power back online.

An electric tower near Grant fell after strong winds from a thunderstorm (ReportIt photo courtesy; April 12, 2014)
(An electric tower near Grant fell after strong winds from a thunderstorm April 12, 2014)

The Red Cross said Sunday has not opened any shelters, but that it is providing aid to some families affected by power outages and storm damage — primarily those in need of medical assistance. Residents in affected areas who need help can call the Red Cross at 616.456.8661 or go to the Red Cross website.

Hundreds of 24 Hour News 8 viewers reported damage at their homes and area businesses. Several viewers said they saw pieces of roofs in the street after strong winds blew parts off of buildings.

In the small town of Bailey, there were tree limbs over several roads and multiple power lines down. The roofs of small garages were blown off and sheds and small playgrounds were destroyed by winds.

The scene was similar in Sparta, where trees and power lines were down and some homes sustained damage.

“I thought it was quite a storm,” said Skip Meyer, Village President of Sparta. “I saw winds going back and forth in every direction. The hail was going exactly dead south in a straight line.”

“This is terrible,” Meyer continued. “There are garages knocked flat over and windows blown out all over the place.”

The roof of Kent City High School sustained damage that district officials say could take several weeks to repair. School buildings will not be closed while those repairs are underway, Superintendent Mike Weiler said.

Two men were trapped in a golf cart after a tree fell on the golf cart in Plainfield Township.

Widespread damage along M-37 was so extensive that the Michigan Department of Transportation shut down a portion of the road south of 120th in Grant to the connection of M-46 near Casnovia for a time.

The Muskegon Fire Department asked residents to stay in their homes due to multiple downed power lines. They told resident not to attempt to touch or remove any lines because they may have been energized.

The City of Muskegon issued a statement on its Facebook page saying residents could put tree limbs and brush caused by the storm out to be picked up until April 25th at 4 p.m.  They ask that the brush and limbs be placed on the terrace and cannot block the sidewalk or encroach on to the street.

You can always check the Storm Team 8 Radar by clicking here and the latest on the storm by checking out the Storm Team 8 page.

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