Whitmer declares state of emergency for Grand Rapids

Associated Press
Trucks from the Bowlin Group, an energy company from Kentucky, idle in the parking lot of Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. The church served as a staging area for the vehicles.

Grand Rapids – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency in Grand Rapids, qualifying the city for additional assistance as it copes with power outages and cleans up from storms.

Whitmer says the declaration gives Grand Rapids additional resources beyond what it’s already receiving from state agencies such as the emergency management division of the state police. Ice and fierce winds last week in western Michigan knocked down power lines and tree limbs.

Consumers Energy’s online outage map showed about 14,000 customers in the region had no electricity as of Sunday afternoon, down from a peak last week of 231,000. Crews from eight states are working to restore power and say to expect all customers to be returned to the grid by the end of the day Sunday.

The severe winter weather that began February 7 knocked down trees and power lines across the city of Grand Rapids. As a result, the city opened its Emergency Operations Center to manage the response. Late Saturday afternoon, the city formally requested state assistance.

“We are focused on storm cleanup and recovering as quickly as possible,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said in a statement. “Our current services are deployed at full capacity. However, they are not sufficient to meet the significant needs across our city. This has led us to partner with the state to help secure additional resources.”

In Portland, a bridge over the Grand River has reopened, 35 miles northwest of Lansing. The river has been jammed with ice.