DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Colder weather is making its way into Michigan as crews work to restore power to the last people left without electrical service following an ice storm that hit the state more than a week ago.
The lights are back on for all but about 3,900 Michigan homes and businesses out of over 660,000 that lost power at some point during the big ice storm that hit the state more than a week ago.
At least five deaths are blamed on the weather, including three who were killed in crashes and two who died from carbon monoxide fumes.
In the Upper Peninsula, readings of 15 below zero were reported in places including Ironwood.
DTE Energy Co. says all its 210,000 affected homes and businesses had power back as of Sunday night. CMS Energy Corp. said essentially all its 416,000 affected customers were back online.
In the Lansing area, where nearly 3,200 Lansing Board of Water & Light customers were still without power Sunday evening, the National Weather Service says temperatures were about 15 degrees early Monday.
Some of those residents appeared at a news conference Saturday, sponsored by Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp., shouting questions and demanding to learn how much longer they must live in cold, dark homes or stay with friends or in hotels, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“When it first happened, I had all the confidence in the world because they said ‘all hands on deck,'” said Matthew Oney of East Lansing. He said he has been living in a hotel this week with his family, including his 2-week-old daughter, Olivia.
One resident attended a rally at East Lansing’s Glencairn Elementary, holding a sign that read: “Two week old baby. When can she go home?” “It seems they don’t care about us at all,” he said.
Lansing and East Lansing leaders said they would investigate the utility’s handling of the outages.
Board of Water & Light General Manager J. Peter Lark said the utility will not be able to tell individual customers when their lights will be on because it can’t track individual outages.
“If you’re not in the 90 percent, you’re not happy. I understand that,” he said Saturday. “We are going to do a very in-depth analysis of all of our responses, from the top – that’s me – all the way to the bottom.”
AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said Monday morning that Southeast Michigan residents should brace for an even colder forecast; with single-digit temps on the way and highs only reaching into the teens later this week.
For the latest, keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 during traffic and weather on the 8s, 24 hours-a-day. See live radar and the extended forecast anytime on the CBS Detroit weather page.
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