Thousands still without power as heat advisory, more storms on the way

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

More strong storms are expected Wednesday evening after a storm front pushed across southeast Michigan Tuesday night, bringing high winds, downpours and thousands of power outages.

It's a hot, stormy pattern expected to last several days, the National Weather Service said.

A flood warning until early Thursday was in effect for the Huron River near Hamburg in Livingston County. The river was around 6.8 feet at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday; flood stage is 6.5 feet, according to the weather service.

The storms also brought another round of outages. Consumers Energy reported more than 26,000 customers still without power Wednesday afternoon, down from a high of 70,000. 

There were large clusters near Mount Pleasant, Midland and Saginaw. Crews were assessing the damage and positioning line workers for restoration once the storm system ends, the utility said in a statement.

"The severe weather we saw once again left behind a path of destruction, and now our crews are back at it to restore power as quickly and safely as possible to all of our impacted customers," Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations, said in a statement. "We appreciate our customers’ patience as crews work around the clock to evaluate the damage and turn the lights back on for everyone."

Consumers Energy expects expect a large portion of the impacted customers to be restored by the end of Wednesday night.

DTE Energy is reporting more than 26,000 outages, Wednesday afternoon with many near U.S.-23 near Algonac, Sterling Heights and Waterford. The utility says 560 crews out now in the field trying to restore power. 

The band of storms that crossed Lake Michigan earlier Tuesday left trees and power lines down in Saginaw, Genesee, Midland and Bay counties, the weather service reported.

Wind gusts as high as 48 mph were reported in Huron County, and 60 mph near Lansing. Radar estimated more than an inch of rain in parts of Wayne and Oakland counties, meteorologist Alex Manion said.

Rainfall through 11 p.m. included 2.04 inches in Southgate; 1.2 in Marine City; 1.81 in Rodney in Mecosta County;1.32 in Portage; and 1.34 in northern Fulton, 2.62 in west-northwest Fulton, 3.01 in Richland and 1.32 in Portage in Kalamazoo County, the weather service said.

Wind damage was reported in Montcalm Township, where numerous tree limbs were down and power out along M-91 between Greenville and Turk Lake. Multiple trees and wires were down in Jerome Township, trees and wires were down in Midland and Bay City, and a tree was down on M-18 north of Gladwin. South of Reed City, a large tree was partially blocking southbound U.S.-131 near mile marker 150, according to National Weather Service storm reports.

As the mercury hovers in the 70s, there's a chance for more storms overnight, and the patterns holds through the end of the week, Manion said. "With how hot and humid it is, it doesn’t take much to produce thunderstorms."

Detroit Metro Airport reached a high of 90 on Tuesday: 10 degrees above average for the date and near the record, 95, set in 1948, weather service records show.

Temperatures through Friday are expected to climb near 90, records show. Lows could fall into the 70s; the normal readings in late August are in the 60s.

A heat advisory is in effect for parts of northern Indiana, southwest Michigan and  northwest Ohio  from11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Wednesday as heat index values could top 100, the weather service said.