Monday storms down trees, cause power outages

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Consumers Energy linemen were hard at work Tuesday repairing damage and restoring power to 6,236 customers across Clare County.

“The Clare County area experienced high winds which started in the early morning hours of December 5th.”

Clare County Sheriff John Wilson said, “Our Central Dispatch Center constantly received calls during the high wind time of trees down, power lines broken and car crashes as a result of these winds. County fire departments were out on wind related runs during this period. All law enforcement in the county assisted and blocked roadways during this period.”

Wilson said, “I came into our Central Dispatch around 4:30 this morning (Tuesday) and the two dispatchers working barely had time to brief me. We had reports of trees and power lines down throughout the county. I actually ended up on Southbound 127 blocking a lane until the Road Commission arrived to remove the downed tree. The Clare County Road Commission and all five area fire departments did an excellent job meeting the demands this wind storm put on our county.”

Sheriff Wilson said there ten calls about broken down power lines, 42 incidents of trees in roadways and five car crashes where motorists hit trees in the roads.
Clare Emergency Management Director Becker reported “a lot of small pockets and several large pockets” of areas across the county where the windstorm, with reported up to 50 miles per hour gusts, brought down trees and utility lines. He said Surrey Township sustained the most damage in the southern part of the county with other outages reported in Grant, Freeman, Sheridan and Lincoln Townships.

He said Tuesday that most of the power would be back on by 2:15 p.m. Consumers said.

“We haven’t got a lot of damage reports,” he said, “mostly trees down with one hitting a car on Grant Road in the Five Lakes area and line damage that closed Arnold Lake Road from North Clare Avenue to Jackie Drive for several hours because of downed power cables.”

Later Tuesday, a pine tree took down more lines and destroyed a power pole closing Eberhart Road between Clarabella and Washington for several hours.
“Roscommon and Crawford Counties were hit much harder,” Becker said. “Roscommon County had 17,453 homes and businesses, about 68.5 percent of Consumer’s customers, out of power due to the storm damage.”

He said 94.5 percent of Consumers customers in Crawford County, about 5,441 homes and businesses, were also out of power because of wind damage to power lines. “The worst damage was from Clare County to Crawford and east to Lake Huron,” he said.

Consumers reported more than 80,000 customers without power across Michigan with restoration efforts involving 1,200 employees and contract workers. The National Service issued a wind advisory through 7 p.m. Tuesday through the middle of the state which included counties from Gratiot to Crawford. A later report said the power outages affected over 100,000 homes and businesses. Of those their report said, about 65,000 were still without power. The report said power was expected to be completely restored by 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Isabella County outages and downed trees were reported in Blanchard, Lincoln and Chippewa Township and near Stephenson Lake Road.

Strong winds continued following the storm, which brought plummeting temperatures to the mid-Michigan area.

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