Cold front moves in, bringing wind gusts up to 56 mph in Michigan

The Detroit News

Winter weather is settling in upper Michigan, with gusty winds throughout the state and accumulating snow in the eastern portion of Upper Michigan through Monday morning.

Power outages were reported in portions of Lower Michigan and a wind advisory was in effect for Huron and Sanilac counties, where gusts around 45 mph were expected. "Scattered bursts" of snow showers were expected ahead of the the cold front, the weather service said.

DTE Energy reported 2,500 consumers without power Sunday night and fewer than 800 were without on Monday; Consumers Energy had 28,862 without power but had restored it to all but about 8,000 by early Monday. 

Winds were diminishing Monday morning, the National Weather Service in Gaylord said, but blowing and drifting snow remains a risk.

In Metro Detroit, radar indicated winds, along with a cold front, swept through the region late Sunday before heading east. Temperatures were expected "to rapidly fall," with "snowflakes and graupel," called snow pellets or soft hail, forming. 

Winds slowed traffic on the Mackinac Bridge, according to the Mackinac Bridge Authority. After high wind warnings, drivers were asked to slow to around 20 mph as they approached the bridge and be prepared to stop. "High profile" vehicles, ranging from a vehicle with luggage on the roof to large trucks with enclosed trailers, had to be escorted across the bridge as of 11:35 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie was expected to see between 8-12 inches of snow. Temperatures were expected to be about 25 degrees. The National Weather Service said blustery, northwest winds around 20 mph with 40 mph gusts were expected. 

DTE outages were reported between Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township, although an exact cause was not reported.

Consumers reported outages  near Kalamazoo, Ionia, and a wide swath from Lake City to Moorestown in Missaukee County, and near West Branch.

"Severe damage has been reported across the state from strong winds. Our teams are hard at work assessing outages and mobilizing crews to begin restoration," Consumers said on its website. "Crews will start working once conditions are safe to do so. As we identify damage and hazards, restoration times may change."

Wind gusts of 56 mph were reported in Norton Shores, 55 mph in Whitehall and Roosevelt Park in Muskegon County, and 53 mph in Holland. In South Haven, 51 mph winds were reported, according to the weather service's storm reports, though winds were diminishing Monday morning.