A new storm teeming with freezing rain and strong winds socked Michigan on Monday, presenting a fresh challenge for crews that have been trying to restore electricity to thousands of customers who have been in the dark since ice snapped lines days ago.
The state’s largest utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, together said more than 140,000 customers lacked power by mid-afternoon. Consumers added roughly 50,000 to its outage map, hours after reporting that the finish line from last week’s storm seemed near.
“There is another storm moving through mid/northern Michigan counties with ice, freezing rain and strong wind gusts,” Consumers spokesperson Josh Paciorek said by email.
Meanwhile, blizzard warnings went into effect in the Sierra Nevada range as more rounds of rain and snow moved into California and Nevada. Tornadoes and other powerful winds swept through parts of the Southern Plains, killing at least one person in Oklahoma.
At the peak last week, Michigan had more than 800,000 outages from rain turning to ice and then bringing down tree limbs and lines. Some residents, like Jo Ann Davis in Livingston County, still were waiting for the lights to come on Monday after five days.
Davis, 59, really wants a shower. No electricity, of course, means no lights or appliances, but her problem is even more acute: no water.
Davis and husband Tim rely on a well at their home — and a well needs electricity to pump water into the house.
“It’s the biggest hassle,” she said. “We’re actually scooping water from a creek with 5-gallon buckets and then dumping it in the toilets to flush. I haven’t showered since last Tuesday.”
In suburban Detroit, Leah Thomas and her teen son stayed at her parents’ home while power was out for four days in her Beverly Hills neighborhood. Their electricity came back Sunday but disappeared again Monday.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Thomas, who had to throw out spoiled food, including prepared meals worth $200 in the freezer. “I’m just going to hope and cross my fingers that it comes back on here soon.”
DTE said customers without electricity for more than 96 hours would get a $25 credit.
More than 600,000 DTE customers have been restored since last week, though “that’s little comfort if you’re still without power right now,” said vice president Ryan Stowe.
An ice storm is “one of a utility’s worst nightmares,” he said Monday.
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