High winds downed trees and power lines in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula on Saturday, knocking out power to thousands of people.
Nearly 50,000 Consumers Energy customers were affected by the power outages, Consumers Energy spokesman Doug DeYoung said. As of approximately 4 p.m. on December 9, more than 37,000 people across Michigan reported rolling power outages, according to a report Map of power outages for consumers.
Saturday morning, the National Weather Service warned of wind gusts that could reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour in some parts of the state, and the possibility of power outages.
Related: Wind warning for most of Michigan, gusting up to 50 mph
Among the communities hardest hit by the winds was Midland County. Consumers Energy reported 6,979 customers were without power — about 16.5% of its customers in Midland County — as of Saturday afternoon due to several downed power lines across the region.
Since about noon Saturday, Midland Fire Department crews have responded to more than a dozen reports of downed power lines in the city, Battalion Chief Mark Lux said.
Additional incidents of trees and wires falling due to the wind were reported in Midland County, Lux said.
“It was widespread throughout Midland County and caused a great deal of road, travel and Saturday hardship for people,” Lux said. “The weather was beautiful, we had gusty winds that affected the trees and then those (trees) took down power lines and closed the roads.”
The Greater Midland Tennis Center is closed due to a power outage. The Northeast Michigan Tennis Area (NEMTA) tournament matches have been rescheduled for Sunday, according to Jessica Vormsma, league and tournament coordinator at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.
Lux said it could take up to two or three days to restore power to some areas due to the high amount of outages mixed with a lack of staff available on the weekend.
Consumers Energy had about 400 service employees in the field assisting customers as of Saturday afternoon, with additional crews prepared to join the effort in the evening, DeYoung said.
“We look forward to having all customers back by the end of Sunday (Dec. 10),” DeYoung said.
A wind advisory for northern lower Michigan is in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday, according to National Weather Service. Southwest winds could reach 10-20 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.
Consumers can track the “estimated time to restoration” for specific areas experiencing power outages on the Consumer Energy Map and sign up for text notifications at Energy consumer site“De Jong said.
DTE reports that the high winds haven’t been a major problem with officials saying only about 910 people are without power now, many of which are not due to the wind.
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