DTE: Power restoration won't start until morning

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Facebook user Kyle Martin from Detroit

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, DTE says more than 665,000 customers are still without power. Crews hope to have a restoration estimate by noon today. They are working 16-hour shifts to assess the storm damage. Crews have also joined in the effort from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, New York and Pennsylvania. 

DTE says this is their largest weather-related outage ever. All of the southeast metro area was under a High Wind Warning Wednesday night that expired at 7 p.m. 

FOX 2's Rich Luterman said the highest wind gust recorded were 68 mph at Metro Airport, although most of us experienced gusts in the 60s. Hurricane-force winds begin at 74 miles per hour.

Estimates and restoration will likely not start until the morning, DTE President and CEO Trevor Lauer said. He said the vast majority of customers should be restored in the "next couple of days." DTE says they hope to have a restoration estimate by noon on Thursday. 

About 600 line workers are out in the field as well in addition to hundreds of contract workers. DTE has also contacted utility companies from surrounding states and will have 250 additional line workers from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and New York.

"Expect the restoration process to take multiple days," he said, due to the sheer size of the outage.

"We've been preparing for a significant weather event but the severity of the windstorm that hit today exceeded all of our forecasts," Lauer said. "Our number one priority is to assure the safety of the public. If you see a downed power line assume it is energized and report it immediately. Once all the wires are secured, our crews will turn their attention to restoration."

Lauer said that even if customers are unable to report an outage, DTE's smart meters allow it to know what neighborhoods have been impacted.

"Rest assured we know you are out and we are working to restore the power."

Lauer said to check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly to make sure they are okay.

If you see a downed line, call 800.477.4747 and stay at least 20 feet away from the lines at all times. If a downed line touches your car, stay inside and wait for help. If you must get out of the car because of fire or other danger, jump out out of your car without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time.  

Gov. Rick Snyder's office issued a press release stating that he has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to monitor reports of storm damage.

The city of Detroit says it has assigned extra patrol cars in every precinct to patrol areas without power, while the Detroit Fire Department has activated two additional fire companies to respond to calls for assistance.

To report a power outage, CLICK HERE.