The Michigan State Police are reminding people to use caution as clean-up efforts are underway following the fast-moving storm that traveled through the region Sunday leaving power outages, fallen trees and wind damage.
Damage was lighter in our area than in the southern part of the state, although many homes here suffered power outages.
Damage assessments are still being completed, but two fatalities and one serious injury have been confirmed in the state. Of those incidents, a 21-year-old Jackson County man was killed when a tree fell on his car; a 59-year-old Shiawassee County man was killed when he was electrocuted; and a 14-year-old Wayne County boy is in critical condition after being electrocuted.
The National Weather Service has confirmed EF-0 tornadoes in Cass, Otsego and Ingham counties, as well as one that touched down in several locations from Muskegon to Newaygo counties. EF-0 tornadoes are capable of producing winds from 65 to 85 mph.
As of 1:30 p.m. yesterday, more than 235,000 homes were still without power statewide. Personnel from the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) continue to monitor weather conditions and remain in contact with local emergency management personnel to provide assistance as needed.
“During Sunday’s storm, many communities across the state experienced some degree of property damage, downed trees and power outages,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “The protection of public health and safety is our primary concern.”
As cleanup continues, it is important for citizens to be aware of the dangers they may face in the aftermath of the storm. Below are some general safety precautions:
· Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
• Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.
• Avoid actions that can result in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide:
Do not use a grill indoors.
Do not use an unvented gas or kerosene heater.
Do not use a generator in the house or garage.
Do not use an oven or stove to heat your home.
• Use extreme caution when driving. If traffic signals are out, treat each signal as a stop sign. Come to a complete stop at every intersection and look before you proceed.
• Avoid standing water, flooded roadways and flooded riverbanks. Remember: “Turn around, don’t drown.”
• Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
• Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris. Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
Anyone needing assistance should contact their local emergency management agency or call 2-1-1.
Personnel with the MSP/EMHSD will continue to monitor the situation and take prudent action should conditions warrant.
“Michigan’s No. 1 threat is severe weather and these storms serve as a reminder of the importance of being prepared, especially as winter approaches,” Kelenske said. “A prepared Michigan is a resilient Michigan, which includes having an emergency plan and basic supply kit in every household.”
For more preparedness tips about what to do before, during and after a storm or power outage, visit www.michigan.gov/beprepared or www.twitter.com/MichEMHS.