DTE: Wednesday winds create largest outage in history, power restorations to begin Thursday
(WJBK) - DTE Energy is saying that Wednesday's wind storm caused more power outages than any other in the company's history, calling it the "largest weather event in DTE history."
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.
The bulk of the restoration efforts will start Thursday as well as the clean-up, to take care of everything the wind left behind.
"It is a sound I can't describe," said Sharesa Thompson. "My mother (called it) the sound of a roaring lion."
But thankfully this lion of a tree did not take much of a bite out of Sharesa Johnson's house. The wind threw its weight around Wednesday downing power lines and tossing trees and branches on streets, houses and vehicles.
"The neighbor's tree broke off and squished a garage," said one man. "A Forerunner. The power line holding up the tree."
Wind gusts which peaked at nearly 70 miles an hour knocked out power for more than 900,000 DTE and Consumers Energy customers in Michigan.
The Eisenhards in Huntington Woods are ready to make due in the dark.
"We'll be fine," said Mr. Eisenhard. "We have all these candles, all this food, and some other sources of power so we'll be good."
About 70,000 DTE customers are without power in Detroit. Sharesa only has it in her kitchen outlets and is running extension cords from them to keep the lights on throughout her house
"So that's the only power I have," she said. "My stove works, my refrigerator works but no other room."
About 700,000 DTE customers are without power - the most in the company's history. Crews were overwhelmed with outages that multiplied by the hour.
There were 90,000 at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, 400,000 by 3 p.m. and more than 600,000 just a few hours later.
And the outage count continued to climb.
"Again I'd emphasize safety," DTE President and CEO Trevor Lauer said. "If you see a downed power line, please call DTE Energy. We have crews all over the metropolitan area from the thumb down to Monroe dealing with down power wires.
Lauer says that is the first order of business - after that, restoring power.
"Given the size and our history with storms like this in the utility industry," Lauer said. "I would expect we would have the vast majority of our customers back in the next couple days."
Some may not have power back until the weekend, line workers from out of state will start arriving Thursday morning to help.
The outage map on the DTE Energy app map is working, but not on the website. DTE said 20 times more people tried to see what was happening that it knocked it offline.
PHOTOS: wind knocks trees down across Detroit, almost 900,000 without power
The wind is causing plenty of problems outside. With many neighborhoods having garbage day today, garbage cans and recycle bins are being blown all around. Tree limbs are being snapped and power lines are down. In fact, anything not tied down has the chance to be knocked around due to these winds. Be careful and make sure you help pick up after the wind is gone tomorrow.
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.