There was no doubt we were going to have a white Christmas after enduring freezing rain and seemingly continuous snowfall since last weekend. The freezing rain we experienced last weekend began late Thursday night (December 19) or early Friday morning, cancelling hundreds of schools. It continued into Saturday and Saturday, causing cancellation of Saturday events and Sunday church services all over Michigan. We continued to get winter weather advisories all through Christmas week.
As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, 73,500 Consumers Energy customers remained without service. Since noon Saturday, the storm has caused more than 368,000 outages, or more than 20 percent of the utility’s 1.8 million electric customers. They said it is the company’s largest Christmas-week storm in its 126-year history.
Counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Barry (8,856); Calhoun (1,369); Clinton (5,241); Eaton (6,092); Genesee (28,573); Ingham (7,118); Ionia (2,673); Kent (451); Livingston (3,319); Oakland (1,163) and Shiawassee (9,780).
The estimated power restoration schedule for the hardest-hit areas is:
Thursday: Eastern and western Kent counties, including greater Grand Rapids;
Friday: Kalamazoo County;
Saturday: Portions of Barry, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham. Livingston, Oakland and Shiawassee counties.
Consumers said restoration times may be affected by additional storm activity, additional damage and as damage assessments are collected. Consumers Energy also is monitoring expected warmer temperatures that could cause additional damage to the electric system. They said that temperatures in the upper 30s to lower 40s late Friday and into Saturday in some parts of the state will melt ice now coating tree branches, causing them to snap into power lines, and perhaps cause additional customer outages.