DETROIT (FOX 2) - As of Thursday morning, hundreds of schools are closed and hundreds of thousands are without power in Southeast Michigan following a brutal ice storm that blew through Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Some 3,370 crews from DTE were out working as of 3:45 p.m., with 518,000 customers reporting without power.
According to DTE, tree branches that fell during the ice storm are the likely culprit for many outages. "Our Storm Response Teams, along with lineworkers from neighboring states, will continue to work around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible," read a note from the utility.
They also asked people to avoid any downed power lines. In one tragic occurrence late Wednesday, a family lost two pet dogs who came into contact with a downed wire.
As a result, the utility is asking everyone to stay out of their yards to avoid any downed wires. There are close to 3,000 that have fallen, the utility said.
"COMMUNITY SAFETY NOTICE: Due to the high number of downed wires (close to 3,000) we are urging everyone to stay out of their yards at this time. Fallen trees and limbs can hide energized wires," DTE tweeted.
"Stay in your home if you can and do not work in your yard today and keep kids and pets in the house. Keep away from any caution tape and report any down line you see."
According to DTE's map, the outages are prevalent all across Southeast Michigan, with some of the highest concentrations in southern Oakland County, eastern Wayne County, and in and around Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County.
The utility did not have any update on estimated time of power restoration. Matt Paul, the executive vice president of DTE said early Thursday that "significant damage" had been done to its grid, causing over 2,000 wire-downs. The ice accumulation was the thickest it had been in 50 years, he said.
"We know how frustrating and impactful it can be without power," he said. "I assure you and all our customers that we'll work around the clock as quickly and safely as possible so each customer has power restored."
It did announce around 10 p.m. Wednesday night that technical issues were preventing customers from accessing their account and reporting downed wires and outages.
Consumers Energy, which runs electrical utility services for residents outside of Southeast Michigan, reported 194,000 customers affected by the storm. The bulk of those were concentrated in south-central Michigan.
How to check DTE's outage map
DTE is tracking the outages with its outage map that updates as power outages are reported. Find the DTE Energy map here.
DTE services much of Southeast Michigan and tracks outages based throughout the area. On the company's page, it will enclose businesses and residents in different shades. Purple indicates 99 or fewer customers without power, green is 100-500, yellow is 501-1,500, orange is 1,501 to 2,500, and red is 2,501 or more.
On the outage map, you can search by address to see if there's an outage in your neighborhood. If you're experiencing an outage and it's not listed on DTE's site, you can report it by clicking ‘report outage’.