Power outages dwindling after severe weather cut power to over 500,000 in Michigan, Wisconsin
While the threat for severe weather has passed, roughly 170,000 people have yet to get electricity restored across Michigan and Wisconsin.
Power outages mounted across the midwestern United States as rounds of severe weather blasted the region late Friday through Saturday. At the height of the outages, over 560,000 customers were left without power.
Following multiple major power failures involving Consolidated Edison Inc., in a short period of time, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested some alternatives to take over the investor-owned utility.
“We don’t depend on a private company for water or for policing or for fire protection,” de Blasio said at a press conference on Monday. “If they can’t handle the job, it’s time to look at new alternatives.”
More than 100 residents were evacuated to a local high school shortly after 3 p.m. EDT Sunday from a senior center in New Jersey after the building lost power and air conditioning during the extreme heat wave. No injuries have been reported, according to WPVI-TV.
The majority of the power outages remain in Michigan, where more than 300,000 are still without electricity as of early Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us. More than a third of those outages were from Wayne County, which is home to Detroit.
DTE Energy crews assessed damage from the storm and found 1,900 downed wires in southeastern Michigan, according to the company.
Estimates on when service would be restored to all residents in southeastern Michigan were made available early Sunday afternoon, DTE Senior Vice President of Electric Distribution Heather Rivard said in a video posted on Twitter.
"Our goal is to restore 80 of the customers by the end of the day, tomorrow, which is Monday," Rivard said. "Ninety percent by the end of the day Tuesday, and to finish up all restoration no later than Wednesday."
After severe thunderstorms struck about 24 hours before, another round of thunderstorms with powerful wind gusts blew through southeastern Michigan on Saturday evening.
"A wind gust of 43 mph was reported at the Detroit Metro Airport," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "North of the city, winds gusted to 62 mph at Selfridge Air National Guard Base."
Severe weather was not just confined to southeastern Michigan on Saturday. Violent thunderstorms threatened many communities along the corridor from eastern South Dakota and Iowa to Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. A separate zone of damaging thunderstorms also rattled upstate New York.
While funnel clouds were sighted southwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the majority of the severe thunderstorms during the first half of the weekend produced damaging winds and flooding downpours.
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A line of severe thunderstorms produced a continuous path of wind damage and gusts over 60 mph from South Dakota and eastward along the border of Iowa and Minnesota from the early morning to the midday hours of Saturday.
"That meets the definition of a derecho," stated Pydynowski. "The derecho and other severe thunderstorms erupting over the Midwest on Saturday were fueled by the sweltering heat and humidity surging over a large part of the nation."
Hurricane-force wind gusts of 75 mph were reported at both Brookings, South Dakota and Windom, Minnesota. The strong winds downed trees.
"In northwestern Michigan, heavy rain repeated over the same areas and triggered flooding on Saturday," Pydynowski said. "There was an unconfirmed rainfall report of 7.42 inches in Luther."
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The flooding led to road closures, and some campers near the community of Baldwin became stranded for a time.
On Saturday morning, fast-moving floodwaters washed away a bridge that acted as the only access to about 30 houses in Kinsman, Ohio, according to WKBN.
Video taken by the Kinsman Police Department shows live power lines lying in the rushing water that runs through the area where the bridge once was, possibly downed by strong winds from the earlier storm. Radar indicates there was rainfall of 4 to 7 inches in northern Trumbull County early Saturday morning.
According to WKBN, the dam at Kinsman Lake overtopped, the water sloshing over the edge as the rain inundated the area. Kinsman Trustee Greg Leonhard told the news station that there are about 30 houses near the lake that are accessible only by the bridge.
Water rescues were performed Saturday afternoon as flooding persisted.
"The good news is that those still without power in Michigan and Wisconsin are not dealing with the heat wave anymore," Pydynowski said. "Temperatures have been returned to more seasonable levels and will hold there through at least midweek."
"The risk for severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours will continue to shift to the south and east through Monday as relief from the heat wave arrives," she added.
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