Storms, heat hit Michigan

A series of thunderstorms that raged across parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula temporarily dampened record-setting high temperatures that have gripped the state for more than a week.
AP Wire
Jul 5, 2012

About 325,000 DTE Energy Co. residential and business customers lost electricity starting with storms Tuesday, and 195,000 remained without power Thursday after a new round of rough weather toppled trees and overhead power lines.

At the height of the storms, about 97,000 Consumers Energy customers lost power. That number was down to 80,000 early Thursday afternoon, Consumers Energy spokesman Dan Bishop said.

Both utilities are throwing crews into restoration efforts. Consumers Energy had 160 crews on the job and expected some workers from Indiana to arrive Thursday evening in Michigan. DTE Energy crews were working 16-hour shifts, a spokesman said. Several dozen contractors and linemen sent to help in restoration efforts after earlier storms ravaged the East Coast were recalled.

Many communities were removing tree limbs and wires from across streets, roadways and sidewalks. Rain water flooded low-lying portions of highways, including Interstate 475 in the Flint area.

As the latest batch of cooling rains ended early Thursday afternoon, the heat began to rise. Grand Rapids hit 100 degrees by 5 p.m. and Friday's high in that city was expected to approach 104.

Kalamazoo reached 102 degrees Thursday. Lansing hit 97, but a high of 103 was forecast for Friday. A concert scheduled for Friday in East Lansing was canceled after the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning.

Detroit also was expected to top 100 degrees.

Ashley Jackson lives just north of Detroit in Southfield and believes she'll be able to endure the weather as long as her recently repaired air conditioning holds up. Jackson's unit stopped working last weekend, leaving it inoperable for three days.

"Inside the house it was 91 degrees," the 23-year-old short-order cook said. "I left — me and my roommate — and went to the mall to get some air. We didn't go anywhere that didn't have air."

At night, it was near unbearable.

"Nobody was talking to anybody," Jackson said. "We mostly slept, but it was hard to sleep because of the heat. I probably got about four hours of sleep each night."

Despite the muggy conditions, heat-related illnesses and emergencies appeared to be at a minimum.

Detroit Receiving Hospital treated only a few heat-related patients in its emergency room, spokesman Alton Gunn said.

About a dozen cases went through Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals in Grand Rapids.

Most people complained of being light-headed and fatigued, Spectrum Health spokeswoman Susan Krieger said. Some suffered from dehydration.

"We hydrated them. It's all about the water," Krieger said. "It's the same message. Take the normal precautions and stay out of the heat."

Communities across the state opened up city buildings and libraries as cooling centers.

The city of Detroit opened up several recreation centers late last month. On Thursday, the Coleman A. Young center's lounge area was empty, but that was the exception.

"It has been full, but not overpopulated," said Morae Cochran, the center's supervisor.

Comments

stephhance001

Slow-moving storm that damaged more than 100 homes in a rural southeastern Michigan community when a tornado touched down included at least one other tornado that caused damage.No serious injuries were reported and crews are expected to survey the damage Friday following Thursday's storms. -Garrett Hoelscher

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