Residents without power after strong winds sweep through region - WNEM TV 5

Residents without power after strong winds sweep through region

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The winds have died down across the region, but the clean up still has a long way to go.

"Too dark and getting cold," said Janet Smekar.

She was one of the many Mid-Michigan residents without electricity. Powerful winds blew through the area Wednesday leaving thousands without power.

"I figured that we might lose power because of the wind, but I didn't think it was going to be that bad," Smekar said.

Down the street, Connie and Tony Mancillas used a wood stove and a newly purchased generator. It was the last one in stock at the store, Tony Mancillas said.

"I was relieved to get it," he said.

Consumers Energy said some of its customers may not have power restored until the weekend.

"The generator is running the refrigerator and sump pump. And I can hook it up to the microwave and whatever else essential, space heaters if I need them," he said.

Connie Mancillas said the lack of voltage was hurting the family business.

"We run a daycare and so without power we have no services available for the people who need us," she said.

The Mancillas power returned shortly after speaking to TV5.

While a lot of damage happened in the Tri-Cities and the northern lower peninsula, Genesee County had its fare share of harmful winds.

"It's pretty bad. There's sparks, fire going along the line. It was crazy," said Melissa Jamerson, Swartz Creek resident.

She described what she saw Wednesday night as wind gusts reached more than 50 miles per hour in Swartz Creek. The wind took down branches and ultimately a tree that fell on a power line in front of her home.

"Walked out of the backyard and seen the tree branch fell right on top of the power line and fire went, one big ball of fire just went from one part of the line all the way down," Jamerson said.

More than 11,000 customers remain in the dark in Genesee County on Thursday.

In Montrose, strong winds blew trash from the Republic landfill over neighboring fields and homes. Crews worked to clean up the mess on Thursday.

As for Jamerson, with the lights out her family is using a generator to power their fridge and to cook. She hopes she doesn't have to keep it running for long.

"It's been a long time without it. So we're ready for it to come back on," she said.

Chris Maniaci, Mundy Township resident, used his generator to get power to the essentials, particularly his sump pump, well and furnace.

"It was 45, 55 degrees in the house. So now it's already jumped up about 10 degrees," Maniaci said.

He was told to expect to have power back on by the weekend.

Businesses without power

Gil-Roy's Hardware in Mundy Township didn't let the outage stop them from doing business.

"Doing what we can do for the community," said Rod Burris, with Gil-Roy's.

Employees used flashlights and wrote paper receipts so people could get heaters, power cords, generators and other essentials.

"I had all of that today and I'm really low or out now," he said.

Jeff Isaacson meandered through the dark to pick up an utility cord. He bought a generator two years ago and needed the cord to get heat back in his house.

"This time, powers out. So the next step is we've got to get the furnace running," Isaacson said.

At the corner of Hill and Linden Road in Mundy Township, Rocky's Pizza used a generator to power its ovens and refrigerators cold so they could put hot food in the mouths of hungry customers.

"A lot of people are out of power around here and they can't cook at their house or anything. So they called us. We try to, we try to be there for them," said Rob Stone, with Rocky's Pizza.

They planned to work through the night, but luckily for them their power was restored Thursday night.

"We're excited. No more making pizzas in the dark," Stone said.

Residents in Mundy Township were happy to have their power restored after being told it wouldn't be back on until the weekend.

Consumers Energy crews working overtime

Consumers Energy is responding to Wednesday's storm as if it were a massive storm.

"We saw about 1,000 poles damaged, which is a large number. Across the state about 7,000 wires down and so we're actively working to secure all those to keep the public safe," said Garrick Rochow, with Consumers Energy.

Crews are working 16 hour shifts to restore power. About 320,000 customers lost power Wednesday across the state. That number has since dropped below 170,000.

Much of the work is done out of mobile command centers, like the one in Flint.

"There's a lot of people around here that are working to diagnose and make sure we're putting the resources in the right place and prioritizing the work," Rochow said.

Consumers said after an event like this it is important to stay safe. If you see a downed wire do not go anywhere near it, call and report it to Consumers.

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