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Winds, storms wallop Grand Haven area

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 3:05 PM

Winds gusting to nearly 55 mph knocked down trees and large limbs onto power lines. In some cases, the poles snapped in two.

Tri-Cities residents who were home at the time scrambled to save lawn furniture and umbrellas. Morgan Boyer of Ferrysburg had to secure her family’s boat when one of the mooring lines snapped with the wind and wave action on Spring Lake.

The Muskegon County Airport recorded a wind gust of 53 mph at 9:36 a.m. Shortly after that, strong winds blew ashore in the Grand Haven area and caused some chaos.

Grand Haven Board of Light & Power line supervisor Jim Blekicki said the worst problem they had was a snapped power pole and tree down on North Shore Road, between Coast Guard Park and North Shore Estates Road, in Ferrysburg. That took out power to all of the homes on North Shore Estates and North Shore Drive — a total of about 300 customers, he said. It was one of the new poles just placed to allow for construction of a new bike path, Blekicki said.

It took all day to clean up the area, replace the pole and restore the lines. The road was partially reopened to traffic at about 3:30 p.m.

The earlier storm caused an outage for almost 1,300 customers from the BLP diesel plant to Beechtree Street, according to the power company’s spokeswoman, Renee Molyneux. That power was restored before noon.

Smaller outages were reported in the Mercury Drive/160th Avenue area and the 1200 block of Oakes Avenue in Grand Haven.

Blekicki said all of their customers should have had power restored by 6 p.m. Thursday.

Consumers Energy customers in the Village of Spring Lake had to wait a little longer. Utility spokesman Roger Morgenstern said about 350 customers were expected to be without power until 10 p.m. Thursday, and that could be later if more bad weather went through the area.

Outages were also reported in Fruitport, Nunica and Grand Haven Township.

Morgenstern said Consumers Energy’s biggest problem in West Michigan was from a lightning strike at a substation in Whitehall.

“It took out the entire city of Whitehall,” he said.

Morgenstern said a portable substation had to be hauled in from Alma. Whitehall residents were expected to have their power back on by 9 p.m. Thursday, but repairs to the permanent substation would take a week, he said.

The wind died down throughout the afternoon, but the National Weather Service issued a beach hazards and small craft warning in effect until 11 a.m. today.

Weather bureau meteorologist Evan Webb said there is still a chance of thunderstorms today as a cold front enters the area. The high temperature in Grand Haven on Saturday is expected to be around 70.

“We’ll see some of the coldest air we’ve seen in more than a month move in on Saturday,” he said.

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