DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Winds gusting to 74 miles per hour have knocked out power to at least 119,000 Michigan homes and businesses as the fringes of superstorm Sandy move through the state.

DTE Energy Co. said about 120,000 of its customers have lost power from the high winds linked to the Eastern Seaboard’s rough weather.

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DTE spokesman Len Singer said about 45,000 remained without power as of 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The majority of the power outages are in:
•St. Clair County 13,000
•Wayne County 10,000
•Oakland County 7,000
•Macomb County 2,500


CMS Energy Corp. reported 3,900 customers without service Tuesday afternoon. The utility didn’t immediately have a figure available on the total number of customers affected but says it was at least 9,000.

In Port Huron, Police Lt. Joel Wood has a list of problems they’ve been responding to:

“We’ve been on numberous calls, the fire department has been keeping busy going from branches down, trees down, power lines down, arcing wires, and transformers – sporadic throughout the city,” said Wood.

Lt. Wood says there have been a few accidents at intersections without power to the traffic lights, but nothing major and no injuries.

In Harper Woods, the city hall, police and fire departments were without power Tuesday afternoon. Police Chief Jim Burke said non-emergency phone lines are operational, however 911 emergency lines are not. Burke said all 911 lines are being transferred to Grosse Pointe Woods Police Department.

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Meantime, Superstorm Sandy is causing all kinds of problems on the Great Lakes this week. Huge swells of between 20 and 30 feet or even more are expected on lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie as the storm’s effects spread.

A spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association says ships are at anchor and will not leave after being unloaded. The amount of the losses to be incurred can only be estimated right now, but it will be well into the millions. Association spokesman Glen Nekvasil told the Detroit News” if this becomes a lengthy storm, it will impact our ability to meet our customers needs.”

Sandy, which killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Atlantic, began to hook left at midday toward the New Jersey coast.

The storm lost its status as hurricane because it no longer had a warm core center nor the convection – the upward air movement in the eye – that traditional hurricanes have, but it was still as dangerous as it was when it was considered a hurricane, according to National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney canceled their campaign appearances at the very height of the race, with just over a week to go before Election Day. The president pledged the government’s help and made a direct plea from the White House to those in the storm’s path.

“When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate,” he said. “Don’t delay, don’t pause, don’t question the instructions that are being given, because this is a powerful storm.”

Airlines have canceled more than 12,000 flights, (check flights from Detroit Metro Airport) disrupting the plans of travelers all over the world, and storm damage was projected at $10 billion to $20 billion, meaning it could prove to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Find more information about outages at DTE.

Find information about possible school closings, here.

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