2011-06-12 / Front Page

Storm causes scattered power outages

BY PHIL FOLEY 810-452-2616  pfoley@mihomepaper.com

Lapeer Fire & Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jim Muxlow speaks with a DTE foreman Thursday. 
Photo by PHIL FOLEY Lapeer Fire & Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jim Muxlow speaks with a DTE foreman Thursday. Photo by PHIL FOLEY LAPEER COUNTY — A fast moving storm system left thousands of Lapeer County residents without power early Thursday morning.

The North Branch and Columbiaville areas were hardest hit with 2,157 and 1,158 Detroit Edison customers left in the dark as high winds knocked down trees and severed power lines.

Lapeer Fire & Rescue closed DeMille Road west of South Main Street at 2:45 a.m. after high winds snapped a power line on the south side of the street.

Firefighter John Murphy said when he arrived, the arcing line created a ball of light 10-feet across. “It was buzzing the same as a welder,” he said.

The arcing line dug out silver dollar sized pieces of concrete from the sidewalk and sent them flying more than 50 feet across the street.

Assistant Fire Chief Jim Muxlow said it was the last of seven wind-related runs, starting at 2 a.m. with a primary line pulling down two power poles on the 3200 block of Bronson Lake Road.

Muxlow said when his crews arrived at DeMille Road and South Main Street they were met by a cleaning crew at the Blind Fish Restaurant, who said smoke was coming out of a storage room. He said he couldn’t tell if it was directly related to the line break, but “it burned a lot of wiring” in the restaurant.”

Dave Cook, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township, said equipment in Flint recorded a 76 mph wind gust overnight. That’s 2 mph above hurricane strength.

However, he said, the storm was “dying as it came through our area” and conditions were “pretty localized.” He said that while winds hit 43 mph at the agency’s facility in White Lake Township, just a few miles away at the Pontiac Airport they topped out at 58.6 mph.

In Huron County, said Cook, straight line winds between 80 and 90 mph knocked down numerous trees in Sebewaing.

In Dryden, Sgt. Shawn Peters said two trees had fallen across village streets and the northwest corner of the village was without power late Thursday.

The Imlay City Police Dept., along with much of the M-53 corridor through the city was also without power late Thursday.

A DTE spokesman said 4,335 customers in Lapeer County were without power. Between Consumers Power in the Thumb and DTE in southeast Michigan, the storm left 64,000 electric customers without power.

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