High winds cause Michigan power outages, snarl repair work

December 11, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Strong winds across Michigan caused tens of thousands of new electrical outages Saturday and frustrated efforts to repair widespread damage to power lines from overnight storms.

Nearly 50,000 additional outages to homes and businesses were reported by DTE Energy in Detroit and surrounding areas of southeastern Michigan during the day Saturday. Those pushed the total outages involving the state’s major electric utilities to about 250,000 late Saturday afternoon.

Many of those outages happened as winds reaching 60 miles an hour in places swept across the state early Saturday.

Southeastern Michigan was under a high wind warning from the National Weather Service for most of Saturday, with sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts topping 50 mph.

DTE said it had more than 1,500 DTE employees and local and out-of-state contractors working to make repairs, with additional linemen arriving throughout the day Saturday.

Consumers Energy said more power outages were possible Saturday and that the strong winds were making repair work difficult.

“We are mobilizing crews and stationing them in our hardest hit areas to being damage assessment and restoration work once the winds die down,” Consumers Energy vice president Guy Packard said.