AP NEWS

‘All hands on deck:’ Trees down, power out in eastern UP

December 31, 2019 GMT

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — Ice and snow snapped hundreds of trees in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula and cut off power to thousands of people, authorities said Tuesday.

“It’s hard to explain how many trees and power lines are down. Please be patient,” the Chippewa County sheriff’s office said on Facebook.

Severe weather developed over the weekend and got worse Monday. Cloverland Electric Cooperative, which serves five counties and Sault Ste. Marie, said it could take days to completely restore power in the rural service area.

“It’s all hands on deck — or in buckets, etc. — and we’re fortunate many of our two-man crews are now four-man crews,” thanks to help from other utilities, Cloverland said.

The sheriff’s office said trees still were falling Tuesday from the weight of snow and ice. Cloverland said it had 12,000 homes or businesses without power at 6 p.m.

“Some of our crews have made progress and restored power and only minutes later, another tree will snap and cause another outage,” Cloverland said. “By all accounts — from our line crews to system controllers — this historic event is extreme.”

In western Michigan, more than 50 snowplows were clearing Kent County roads. Rain on Monday turned to ice and snow. Five inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow were reported overnight. Fremont in Newaygo County had at least 7 inches (17.7 centimeters).