DTE: Metro Detroit windstorm set record for outages

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The windstorm that caused massive power outages throughout Metro Detroit on Wednesday has made its way into the record books.

The storm, which DTE Energy said was the largest in its history, caused more than 800,000 outages for DTE customers. Wind speeds topped out at 68 miles per hour Wednesday at Detroit Metro Airport and Saginaw, said Alex Manion, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

“We see two, three per year high wind events,” Manion said. “What is not common in this situation is the duration we saw with these winds. This is nearly an all-day event.”

Other weather events filling out DTE Energy’s 10 biggest storms:

■ July 7, 1991: A storm resulted in 684,000 outages and winds were reported as high as 70 mph. Five people were killed, including two children, a 5-year-old Redford Township boy and a 6-year-old Hazel Park girl electrocuted by downed wires.

■Mid-July 1995: A heavy rain storm brought hail, high winds and lightening during a three-day period that produced 550,500 DTE outages. At the time of the storm, electrical systems were already strained due to extreme heat. Around 4,000 trees were downed by the high winds.

■March 1997: The storm left 454,000 customers without power. High winds and heavy, ice-covered tree branches attributed to widespread downed power lines.

■July 1998: A severe thunderstorm brought winds reaching 80 mph and 432,000 power outages.

■Other significant outages due to storms: 403,000 in April 2003; 391,000 in June 2008; 375,000 in September 2014; 373,600 in July 1997; and 373,000 in March 1976.

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