Hundreds of thousands still without power in Mich. - WNEM TV 5


Hundreds of thousands still without power in Mich.

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Photo from Tara Patenaude via Facebook -- "Outside our house earlier today! That transformer is toast! Anyone for smores?" Photo from Tara Patenaude via Facebook -- "Outside our house earlier today! That transformer is toast! Anyone for smores?"

Hundreds of thousands of Michigan homes and businesses remain without power following a weekend ice storm.

The wintry blast knocked out electrical service to at about 435,000 customers across the state.

Michigan's largest utilities say it will be days before most of those blacked out get their power back because of the difficulty of working around ice-broken lines.

Consumers Energy says 262,000 of its power customers were affected, and 201,000 remained off line early Monday. DTE Energy says work is underway to restore service to 83,000 blacked-out customers out of about 138,000 affected since the storms hit.

Right now about 65,564 Genesee County customers are without power, followed by 20,237 in Shiawassee County. Saginaw County reports about 480 without power and Midland County has 95.

"The calmer weather overnight has allowed us to progress in making more areas safe and restoring power," said Mary Palkovich, the utility's vice president of energy delivery. "We expect to have additional utility workers on the system during Monday to supplement our efforts. We're working around the clock to get the lights back on."

Consumers Energy cautions residents to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately by calling 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.

As of noon, areas most affected by electric interruptions were: Allegan (4,335); Barry (18,252); Calhoun (10,710); Clinton (12,767); Eaton (14,714); Gratiot (3,652); Ingham (14,996); Ionia (6,114); Kalamazoo (4,865); Kent (16,356); Livingston (3,877); Oakland (3,579) and Ottawa (625).

Currently, the estimated power restoration schedule for the hardest hit areas is:

Tuesday: Allegan, northern Kent and Saginaw counties;

Wednesday: Gratiot, Ionia, Montcalm and eastern Kent counties;

Thursday:  Kalamazoo County, western Kent County and greater Grand Rapids;

Friday: Barry, Calhoun and Shiawassee counties;

Saturday: Some portions of Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Livingston, Oakland and Ottawa counties.

Thumb Electric is reporting 3,000 customer outages, with most being in Tuscola and Sanilac counties. They expect to have people restored by Tuesday.

Detroit Edison Power reports as of 4:30 p.m. the following customers are without power: Lapeer County with 36,000, Sanilac Co. with 1,800 and Tuscola Co. with 1,300. Power restoration time is estimated to be by Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, the city of Flint is advising residents to be safe and alert as severe weather continues to disrupt power and cause trees and limbs to fall.

Due to conditions on the roads, residents are strongly encouraged not to travel if they are somewhere they can stay warm. If travel is necessary, caution should be taken to avoid accidents due to ice and downed trees and limbs blocking roadways.

For those residents seeking warm shelter, the American Red Cross in Flint is open as a warming center. Both area shopping malls can also serve as daytime locations in which to stay warm. Residents can also contact their local churches to inquire on whether they will be open as a warming center.

City of Flint road crews will be working continuously to actively identify and remove downed trees and limbs from roadways. Priority will be given to road blockages and driveways blocked by trees and limbs which have fallen from the right of way (between the street and the sidewalk). 

The phone number for residents to call to report downed trees and limbs in roadways is 810-766-7463 ext. 3098. If there is no answer due to high call volume, residents should leave a message giving the area or address associated with the blockage in order assist removal crews.

If any of the severe weather conditions cause an emergency and/or life threatening situation, residents should call 911 immediately. City of Flint Police and Fire personnel continue to work around the clock to address any emergencies that arise. 

Residents are also encouraged to check on vulnerable neighbors such as those with disabilities and senior citizens to make sure they are not in any immediate or potential danger.

For non-emergency resource needs, residents are encouraged to call 211 for Resource Genesee for social service assistance. Due to the absence of electricity and the disruption to communication the outages cause, residents are encouraged to share this information with family and friends.

Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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