Michigan storms leave thousands without power

The Detroit News

Severe weather pushed through the region Tuesday night, bringing rain and high winds and, at its height, leaving more than 139,000 households without power across the state.

No tornadoes touched down in the state, but tornado warnings were issued, including in Monroe County that was canceled by 9:22 pm. Two water spouts were spotted over Saginaw Bay, said National Weather Service meteorologist Megan Varcie. 

By midnight, all watches and warnings had expired, leaving a forecast of sunny and mostly clear conditions.

By mid-morning Wednesday, DTE Energy was reporting fewer than 40,000 households without power. A larger number of outages were reported near Keego Harbor, Waterford Township, Brighton, South Lyon, Marion Township and Milford, Rochester, Farmington and the city of Wayne. 

Consumers Energy reported about 46,000 people  without power around 9:30 a.m. with a large portion in mid-Michigan and scattered throughout Kalamazoo and in mid-Michigan, near Clare, Beaverton, and Edenville and Larkin townships.

"The outages stretch from one lake to the other," said Consumers spokesman Brian Wheeler. 

On Wednesday morning, Consumers said crews from Ohio and Alabama would help restoration efforts.

We know our friends and neighbors are counting on us, and we’re using all of our resources to turn the lights back on in communities across the state,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations. Good weather conditions should help those efforts, he said.

The weather service reported damaging winds, downed trees, power lines down and hali up to the size of a quarter, Varcie said.

Wind damage was reported throughout the Lower peninsula with reports of downed trees and power lines from Traverse City down to Hudson at the Ohio border, and Muskegon in West Michigan to Port Sanilac on Lake Huron. 

Flooding was reported across a swath of northern lower Michigan starting at Rosscommon and Grayling over to Harrisville on the east side of the state. 

Nearly all of Michigan had been under a severe watch or warning as a storm system moved in from the northwest, starting early in the day and moving swiftly. Before nightfall, the power outages hit in areas from mid-Michigan to Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties.

In Saginaw, reports of several large diameter tree limbs down and trees down around Mackinaw and Tittabawassee roads. In Midland County, trees and power lines were down in Larkin Township. Midland saw 1-inch hail, reports said. Around Vassar, tree were down and power outages were reported.

 In the Thumb area, two water spouts were reported east of Port Hope. Further northwest, trees were down on power lines in Winegars and Beaverton

Beaches along Lake Michigan remain dangerous with high winds and currents. 

Waves of 5-9 feet were expected into the evening, the weather service said.

"The danger will shift to the north sides of piers Tuesday evening through Wednesday. Waves will wash onto piers both days and could sweep people into the lake and into the strong currents. Please stay out of the water and off piers Tuesday and Wednesday. These will be the most dangerous conditions we have seen since spring."

Storms moving across Michigan from the northwest are expected in Metro Detroit Tuesday evening.

Packard warned residents to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, keep children and pets away and report downed wires to 911 and the utility at (800) 477-5050.

The system first brought severe weather to parts of Wisconsin, where hail up to the size of a baseball fell early Tuesday in parts of Brown, Outagamie and Waupaca counties.

In Door County, trees and power lines were knocked down and Highway 42 was closed because a live wire was arcing on the roadway.

Associated Press contributed to this report.