Broken trees, utility poles hamper power restoration

Some Consumers Energy customers without power more than3 days after storm

Left: A piece of wood hangs from a utility pole in Jenison. (Brett Stehouwer/Facebook) Right: A tipped pole following storms. (ReportIt)

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) —  Thousands of homes and businesses in Michigan were still without power Monday afternoon after deadly storms swept through the area early Friday morning.

By Sunday night, Consumers Energy had restored power to most people who lost service during Friday’s deadly storms, but the utility company said some customers in the hardest hit areas would have to wait until Monday morning.

“Especially down in the Hudsonville area … we had numerous snapped off utility poles. Getting those … replaced has been a challenge for us,” Dennis McKee, a spokesman for Consumers, explained to 24 Hour News 8 early Sunday evening. “But we’re going to be working as hard as we can to get as many folks back online as quickly as possible.”

As of 12:08 p.m. Monday, the Consumers Energy outage map showed the following outages:

  • Allegan County: 63 customers
  • Barry County: 177 customers
  • Kent County: 245 customers
  • Ottawa County: 611 customers
Photographer David Behrens as the Grand Haven Storm hit shore 7/7/2017

At one point, more than 156,000 homes and businesses across Michigan were without power due to the fast-moving storms, which packed winds of up to 91 mph, heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern said 98,000 of those outages were in West Michigan, including many on the lakeshore.

>>Inside Storm damage photos and video

Consumers said the storm downed 2,000 electrical wires as well as numerous trees, leading to multiple road closures.

“The devastating winds took down trees in highly populated areas, and so getting through those highly populated areas, getting down streets, getting our crews down streets, getting those trees out of the way in populated areas made for very difficult progress,” McKee said.

Consumers Energy said crews were working around the clock. More than 1,700 employees are on hand for the work and 215 Great Lakes Mutual Assistance workers were expected to be in place Saturday, the company said.

“As we close out areas and restore our customers to service, we are then taking those crews and moving them towards the areas that still remain to be addressed,” McKee said.

Consumers set up a Mobile Command Center in Georgetown Township to help coordinate repair crews and allow them to resupply quickly and get back to work.

If you encounter a downed power line, Consumers Energy advises you to stay at least 25 feet away, call 911 and Consumers Energy at 800.477.5050.

A Grand Haven man was killed when a tree fell on his home during the storm, authorities said.

The fastest wind gust reported was in Grand Haven. The lighthouse officially clocked in a gust at 91 mph although additional unconfirmed reports have the highest gust near 103 mph in Grand Haven.

Grand Haven was one of the hardest hit areas. The public safety director said 95 percent of city roadways affected by the storm were cleaned up and reopened by 2 p.m. Friday. The power outages forced at least a dozen schools, businesses and organizations to close Friday morning, including the Norton Shores Police Department. The agency said its road patrols were still working.

Storm structure revealed a dark green “bullseye” of fast wind on the “velocity” mode of there radar. This mode of the radar shows wind speeds. It’s this burst of wind that tore through Ottawa County.

For more details on the storm head to Bill’s Blog.

There were no reported injuries in Kent County., but residents in the Alto area, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming reported significant damage and downed trees. In Grand Rapids, officials said about 50 traffic signals malfunctioned. They asked drivers to treat any intersections with a dark traffic signal as a four-way stop.


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