December 29, 2008 in Nation/World

Wind knocks out power to thousands in Michigan

Floods feared across Midwest
Associated Press
Brandy Baker photo

Sterling Davis takes matters into his own hands after a large tree fell in front of his Detroit house, blocking the street on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

DETROIT – Wind gusting more than 60 mph knocked out power to about 413,000 Michigan homes and businesses on Sunday as temperatures dipped back into the 20s and 30s.

Meanwhile, flood warnings were posted throughout the Midwest as temperatures rose after a week of heavy snowfall. Forecasters said flooding was possible in areas of Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

In Michigan, high wind knocked down tree limbs and power lines. Parts of the state also got about 4 inches of snow.

“We’ve had an intensifying storm system track northeast through the state,” said Mark Sekelsky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. “As that storm intensified, it brought the winds.”

Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. said about 230,000 lost power Sunday, mostly in Wayne and Oakland counties. Crews were working, but spokesman Scott Simons said 10 percent of the 155,000 customers blacked out Sunday night could without power several days.

CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary Consumers Energy said about 183,000 of its customers lost power because of the winds and 91,000 remained blacked out Sunday night. Consumers said it couldn’t predict when power might be restored because the winds continued.

Crews from Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio aided Michigan’s power restoration efforts.

Strong winds also gusted across upstate New York, reaching 75 mph in the Buffalo area and toppling some power poles and trees. Nearly 16,000 customers were without power in five western and northern counties. In New York City, residents relaxed as temperatures hit the mid-60s Sunday.

Melting snow and ice caused problems in the Midwest. In southeastern Wisconsin, the National Weather Service predicted the Fox River would crest about a foot over flood stage Tuesday in the town of Wheatland.

Flooding in Holland, Mich., forced Amtrak to cancel a train from Chicago to Grand Rapids on Saturday night, and at least 300 passengers were taken to buses to complete their trips, WZZM-TV reported.

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