Storms leave 227K without power in Metro Detroit

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Some 227,000 DTE Energy and Consumers Energy customers are without power Saturday after severe thunderstorms swept across southeast Michigan Friday night, the utilities said.

High winds, lightning strikes, flood rains and uprooted trees brought down hundreds of electric lines and caused equipment damage in many areas.

Consumers said in a release Saturday night that more than 1,400 employees were engaged in restoration efforts, including about 120 workers from out-of-state energy providers.

As of 9 p.m. Saturday, approximately 137,000 Consumers customers remained without service due in part to a second wave of thunderstorms that rolled through southeast Michigan. Officials say more than 1,500 downed wires have been attributed to the storms so far. Consumers also said its aiming to restore power to all affected customers by the end of the day Tuesday.

The storms impacted a total of 82,000 customers and as many as 500 DTE power lines were downed as well, according to DTE. 

Map: See the areas affected by power outages

Most of the outages were in Washtenaw and Livingston counties, with large clusters near Hartland, Green Oak Township, Keego Harbor and Ann Arbor.

DTE expects to restore power to 90% of the 72,000 remaining customers without power by the end of Saturday.

"We know how difficult it is to be without power, and we ask for our customers’ patience as our crews work 16-hour shifts until all customers are restored," DTE said.

More: SE Michigan under excessive heat warning as storms approach

Guy Packard, vice president of electric operations for Consumers Energy, said restoration may take longer.

“Our crews are working around the clock to restore service to our customers, but this will be a multi-day restoration effort,” according to a Consumers press release.

Fueled by the start of a heat dome, the severe weather pushed through the region in the early evening, prompting the National Weather Service to issue severe thunderstorm warnings for Wayne, Oakland and Livingston counties.

A second wave of storms is anticipated Saturday evening bringing the possibility of additional power outages for customers throughout the state. 

Early rainfall totals included 1.85 inches in Canton Township, 1.61 in Romulus and 1.5 in Fowlerville, the weather service reported Friday.

The deluge left flooding in some spots, including Flat Rock. Some subdivisions in that community had several inches of standing water, WXYZ-TV reported.

High wind gusts also swept through the Ann Arbor Art Fair, one attendee said on Twitter.

Tree limbs were downed in that city as well as Brighton and Howell, the weather service reported.

An excessive heat warning is in place for much of the region on Saturday, when the mercury could reach the upper 90s along with humidity pushing heat indices above 100, meteorologists said.

"Our number one focus is to keep the public, our customers and our employee and contractor crews safe as we work 16-hour days to assist us in our restoration efforts," Packard said. "We know how frustrating it is to not have electric service, and we won’t stop until all of our neighbors have power."

Twitter: @SarahRahal_