Storms leave many without power, trees down

GENESEE COUNTY – Powerful storms ripped through the county yesterday, knocking down trees and downing power lines throughout the area.

According to the National Weather Service, the storms came through Genesee County around 3 p.m. moving northeast leaving a trail of broken limbs, trees and powerlines in its wake.

About 12,000 Consumers Energy customers lost power on the south side of Genesee County. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 4,982 outages in Genesee County.

With crews from seven states now working in Michigan, Consumers Energy is making progress Thursday in restoring power to over 350,000 homes and businesses affected by intense storms that moved across the state this week.

Since the storm system first hit on Tuesday night, the energy provider has restored 110,000 customers over the last 24 hours and expects to restore power to another 100,000 customers in the next 24 hours, speeding up the response to one of the 10 largest storms in company history.

“We’re working tirelessly and safely to bring the lights back on for our friends and neighbors,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations.

“We continue to be grateful for the patience of our and the help of crews from across the country. We have over 550 crews from Michigan and seven states working around the clock today, and we are confident we can make significant progress to restore power.”

In addition to Consumers Energy crews and others from Michigan, lineworkers today are joining the effort from seven states, including New York, Tennessee and Missouri. Restoration work is expected to extend through the weekend.

Consumers Energy continues to urge people to remember these safety tips:

  • Those clearing storm debris are advised to be aware of possible downed wires and report them to 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 immediately while staying at least 25 feet away. The storms generated more than 4,500 reports of downed wires.
  • Be alert to crews working along roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.
  • Call 2-1-1 if you are looking for help connecting to resources that offer assistance in your community, such as cooling centers or other needs. 2-1-1 is a free statewide service.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement, enclosed patio or near any air intakes. Doing so could cause a generator to produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas.

Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.

In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customer’s home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.

Burton police, fire and the Department of Public Works personnel were busy Wednesday and into Thursday dealing with downed branches, trees and power lines.

Clean-up was also underway in Davison, Davison Township and Richfield Township.

Burton police and firefighters were seen placing flares at intersections where traffic signals were out to warn traffic of the hazard. Trees were down in neighborhoods throughout the city and many were without power.

Late Wednesday night, Flushing Township experienced heavy storm impact in a two square mile stretch between the Flint River and Coldwater, Elms and Carpenter roads. Downed trees and power lines were reported in neighborhoods south of Coldwater Road, west of Elms Road and north of Carpenter Road and Flushing High School.

The Flushing Fire Department also reported that 15 to 20 homes along McKinley and Deland Roads sustained damage from wind and/or fallen trees. Impacted subdivision roads included Apple Blossom Drive, Spidell Drive, Shoshone Trail, Chickasaw Trail and Wesley Drive.

Crews are working to get McKinley and Deland roads open, along with subdivision drives that have experienced heavy tree damage.

In the City of Flushing, police and the Department of Public Works (DPW) crews worked throughout early Thursday morning to clear downed trees and mid-sized and small tree limbs from city streets. Police reported that some service lines were also down and that a power pole snapped in the Hut-West Drive area behind Central Elementary School, prompting a closure of the road.

No substantial damage occurred to homes in the city, and no injuries have been reported in the township or in the city. Consumers Energy has reported that about 3,200 customers are currently without power across the Flushing area.

As confirmed by the National Weather Service, a microburst packing winds in excess of 60 to 70 mph toppled trees and power lines as the storm system moved through the Flushing area around 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

According to weather.gov, a microburst is a localized column of sinking air (downdraft) that collapses within a thunderstorm and sends a rush of high winds across the ground. At their peak, microbursts can reach up to 100 mph or even higher, which is equivalent to an EF-1 tornado.