Power outages widespread across Tri-City area
TRI-CITY AREA — A strong thunderstorm with fierce winds knocked out power to thousands of residents in Lapeer and St. Clair counties on Saturday night. The campaign to restore electrical service locally and across southeast Michigan has been a days-long affair and, as of Tuesday afternoon, large portions of Almont and points north of Imlay City were still in the dark.
At noon on Tuesday, DTE Energy officials said they expected to have more than 90 percent of all impacted storm customers restored by end of day Tuesday, and the remainder by end of day Wednesday. The major outage affecting the Almont area also stretched east and west into neighboring Dryden and Berlin townships. Several businesses along M-53 in Imlay City were forced to close their doors due to the power outages at various times over the weekend.
According to the National Weather Service, a station near Lapeer recorded a top wind speed of 72 miles per hour at 5:55 p.m.
Wind damage was certainly evident at Dan Peter’s home in Attica Township.
He and his family weren’t home at the time of the storm but when they arrived at their Atwell Road residence later that night they found five trees, all around 80 feet in height, had been toppled, falling to the ground in multiple directions.
“What is odd is that our trampoline which is located about 100 feet from the trees did not move,” Peter said.
It was the first time his family has experienced this kind of storm damage in the three years that they’ve lived there.
“Luckily these trees did not hit our house. They were located approximately 20 feet from our home and we did not lose power,” he said.
A small barn housing a tractor did fall victim to one of the downed trees.
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In St. Clair County, Mussey Twp. Fire Chief Jeff Kegler said they responded to several storm-related calls. They stood watch over a live primary wire that fell near Cade and Imlay City roads and a secondary line that made a portion of Foley Road impassable for a time.
A sizeable tree fell on Donald Road, blocking all traffic.
“We cut a hole in the trunk so an ambulance could get through if needed until the road commission could get there,” Kegler said.
Elsewhere in the Capac area, relief from the power outages came quickly for the Stroman family.
Kathleen Stroman said her parents Larry and Delores were thrilled to see repair trucks show up at their Nettney Road less than 24 hours after the lights went out.
“We were surprised to see DTE and Kappen Tree Service show up Sunday afternoon. A caravan of trucks and men showed up and fixed the problem,” Kathleen said.
“A tree limb had fallen and broke the crossbow on the pole and caused the destruction and loss of power. The crew was amazing and restored services quickly.”
Kathleen reports the busy crew paused briefly to meet the Stroman’s pair of rescued donkeys, Lee and Roy.
“Everybody that drives by likes to stop and see them and pet them and feed them treats,” Kathleen said.
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In Imlay City, Fire Chief Rick Horton reported that his department responded to several storm-related incidents on Saturday and into Sunday.
Horton said five of the runs were in response to reports of wires down, while another was a reported structure fire.
He said the fire call turned out to be an electrical issue, which was resolved without incident.
“Our firefighters stood by downed live wires for a total of 17 hours; from 6:30 p.m. on Saturday until 11:30 a.m. on Sunday,” said Horton.
He reminded residents of the importance of using generators safety during a power outage.
“All generators must be kept outside,” said Horton. “Not in basements or closed garages, because carbon monoxide kills.”