Power outages possible Saturday as high winds reach southeast Michigan

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The National Weather Service and DTE Energy are warning southeast Michigan communities about possible power outages and related issues as high winds are expected to descend on Michigan this weekend.

A high wind warning is in effect from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday for Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac counties in the state's Thumb region.

Southwest winds around 25 to 35 mph are expected, with gusts nearing 60 mph possible, the weather service said.

"Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Power outages are expected," according to the notice. "Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles."

DTE Energy line workers fix a damaged utility pole on East Hammond Drive, in Bloomfield Township on Monday, December 6, 2021.

The NWS has also issued wind advisories for much of lower Michigan.

That includes one lasting from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Saturday for Midland, Bay, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Lenawee and Monroe counties. 

Peak winds should arrive in the early afternoon, with gusts near 50-55 mph, according to the advisory.

"Gusty winds above 50 mph will blow around unsecured objects," the weather service said. "Large tree limbs will likely be blown down, resulting in scattered power outages."

Lake St. Clair also has a gale warning in effect between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday.

"Expect sustained winds up to 26 knots from the west with gusts up to 45 knots," the weather service said. "The largest significant waves will be 3 feet with a potential maximum wave height of 4 feet."

DTE Energy, which serves more than two million customers in southeast Michigan, is preparing for the event.

Early Friday, "DTE’s Vice President of Distribution Operations Joseph Musallam activated DTE’s storm response plan, ordering team members mobilized for Saturday and Sunday to restore power to those impacted by the anticipated outages," the company said in a statement. "In addition, DTE is bringing in dozens of crews from outside our area to speed efforts to restore power to customers as quickly and safely as possible."

Customers can report a power outage or downed wire through the DTE app and website or by calling or 1-800-477-4747.

"Downed power lines may be hidden by debris, so be careful as you head outside," DTE said. "Stay at least a bus length (20 feet) away from downed power lines and don’t touch anything they may be in contact with — always consider them live and dangerous."

The winds arrive with a system bringing above-normal temperatures to Michigan and the Midwest.  

Isolated storms are possible between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday morning, drawing as much as a half-inch of rain in some spots, as the mercury climbs into the 50s, the weather service predicts.

Temperatures could top out around 60, more than 20 degrees above average for the date, early Saturday before dropping into the 30s by evening.

The winds could linger on Sunday, with gusts near 25 mph as the thermometer reaches the 40s.

The weather service forecasts similar clear conditions Monday and Tuesday, then a return to storms as highs Wednesday could soar into the upper 50s.