DETROIT (WWJ) – DTE Energy says this is one of the biggest storms of the year and it’s going to be several days before all power is restored.
At 9:30 p.m. Monday, roughly 150,000 metro Detroit homes and businesses were without power after severe storms and high winds hit the area Sunday.
Over 100 schools were closed across Southeast Michigan due to outages. [CLICK HERE for the school closings list].
DTE spokeswoman Randi Berris said crews have been working around the clock to restore power, but continuing high winds have been slowing efforts.
Crews usually available from other states aren’t available because they have their own outages.
She said the largest clusters of outages will get priority when it comes to restoring service.
“It gets more challenging when you have down lines in smaller neighborhoods where you might only have five or 10 customers out at a time,” she said. “We’ll get to those as soon as we can.”
Berris offered this advice to homeowners.
“If there is a power outage don’t open refrigerators and freezers more often than absolutely necessary, ” said Barris. “A closed refrigerator can stay cold 12 hours and kept closed a well filled freezer can preserve food for two days.”
“DTE asks all of our customers and anybody out there – to stay at least 20 feet away from downed power-lines and anything they might come in contact with especially metal fences,” she added. “Treat every downed power-line as if it were energized.”
At Livernois-Davison Flowers in Detroit, owner Marcie Feldman was watching her profits shrivel.
“We have coolers and all the flowers are dying; we can’t do anything without power, really,” Feldman said. “People don’t understand really how important it is. Again, DTE, get on those phones and get going — get those people out there.”
In Canton, a wind gust of 70 miles per hour was reported just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday. A 64 miles per hour gust was reported in Ida, in Monroe County and a 60 miles per hour wind gust was reported in Highland Township.
Along with power outages, trained spotters for the National Weather Service reported a tree down on a car near 24 Mile Road and Dequindre in Shelby Township and mobile home skirting was pushed in by winds in Chesterfield Township.
Near Holly, a weather service employee reported a gazebo that was bolted to a deck was ripped off and six trees were down near Fish Lake and Academy Street.
Trees were down in a number of areas including Milford, Highland Township and near Fowlerville in Livingston County.
Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand said a 21-year-old Leslie resident died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree Sunday evening. Rand told the Jackson Citizen Patriot he’s not sure if the tree fell onto Ryan Rickman’s vehicle or if the man didn’t notice the tree and drove into it.
Elsewhere in the Midwest, tornadoes and other intense storms left a path of destruction. At least eight people were killed —all of them in central and southern Illinois. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma said there may have been as many as 40 tornadoes throughout the Midwest region.
Heavy rains also flooded some roadways in the state, and the Mackinac Bridge was closed to semi traffic due to high winds.
A National Weather Service team headed out Monday morning to survey the damage.
Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest during Traffic and Weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. Check the CBS Detroit weather page for the extended forecast and up-to-the-minute information.