2 dead, 620000 lose power in Mich. after storm

November 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

DETROIT (WJBK) — At least two people have been killed after a Midwestern storm packing strong winds and heavy rain knocked down trees and power lines across Michigan, leaving more than 620,000 homes and businesses without power, officials said.

In Jackson County, Sheriff Steven Rand said Ryan Allan Rickman, 21, of Leslie, died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree Sunday evening. It wasn’t known whether Rickman hit the tree or if it fell on his vehicle, Rand told the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Meanwhile, the Shiawassee County sheriff’s department said Philip Daniel Smith, 59, of Perry, was found dead and entangled in high-voltage power wires after going outside late Sunday to investigate a noise.

As of 10:30 p.m., DTE Energy Co. has restored more than half of their customers who lost power following severe thunderstorms and strong winds that blew across the region Sunday. Approximately 150,000 customers remain without power, down from a peak of 302,000.

The next update is expected to be around 6:30 a.m.

At 4 p.m. CMS Energy Corp. said about 206,000 remained blacked out, out of approximately 275,000 affected.

Officials said Tuesday the outage was one of the area’s largest in a decade.

Click here to view DTE Energy’s Outage Map.

Power problems caused over 100 schools to cancel classes in southeast Michigan.

Wind gusts were measured at 70 mph in Battle Creek and 77 mph at a buoy in Lake Michigan near South Haven. Weather Authority Alan Longstreet says a 70 mph gust was clocked just southeast of Canton in Wayne County.

High winds at the Mackinac Bridge on Monday prompted officials to close the span to semi-trucks and trailers. High winds also were an issue last week at the five-mile span connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

The National Weather Service reports one person was injured Sunday afternoon in Clare County by a falling tree.

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Tornado watches expired without any confirmed as of Monday morning although a possible brief tornado was reported in Newaygo County’s Croton Township, about 30 miles north of Grand Rapids, the weather service said. A weather service crew planned to be in that area Monday to consider the strength and nature of the storm.

Another survey crew will be investigating an area between Kalamazoo and Lansing where storm damage was reported, Webb said. Heavy rains also flooded some roadways in the state, including part of Interstate 475 near Flint.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report

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