Storms wreak more havoc on Michigan, expanded hours at Secretary of State, smoke ring in Clinton Township

While floods submerged Detroit and Dearborn two weeks ago, it was high winds that wreaked havoc on parts of Southeast Michigan during the latest round of storms.

More than 110,000 people were still without power by Thursday morning, with the bulk of the outages blanketing the western half of Oakland County. 

The pictures on-scene were just as stark as the DTE outage map would imply in places like Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield. Just ask Virginia Capaldi.

"The wind just came up so quickly, and by the time I walked into the house, the back tree had already fallen," Capaldi said. "And I checked the side and opened the blinds, and this tree had come down."

Some saw sparks flying from live wires becoming disrupted by the storm. Tracy Lee saw it in front of her apartment, near I-275.

I-275 was among the biggest casualties from Wednesday's storm. Downed and low-hanging wires shut down the busy freeway near Grand River for hours. A pair of SUV's even became trapped by them

"As long as you remain in the vehicle when you are in a situation like this, you are safe," said Chief Jon Unruh, Farmington Hills Fire Department. "It is when you try to exit a vehicle there would be some challenges and some danger."

By 9 p.m., the freeway had reopened. But state police warned it would have to be closed at a future point to repair the damage.

Estimates by DTE to restore power to residents were late Thursday. 

First flooding, then eviction for Ypsilanti residents

The tenants of the Huron Heights and Ridge apartment complex in Ypsilanti saw their bad news get worse Wednesday when they received a letter from their landlord - they were to move out. Sewer water had flooded dozens of units at residence.

It's frustrating a lot of people, many of who live on Section 8 housing. Evidence of the needed repairs are everywhere, according to those that live there. The landlord offered to give a week's rent back and the security deposit if they move.

"That's insufficient," said attorney Troy Tipton, who represents most of the tenants. "The security deposit that they have is not enough to find housing on their own. And really, by law, the security deposit still belongs to the tenant, so all the landlord's doing is giving the tenant back his money."

Furthermore, it's on the landlord to find "comparable" living for their tenants if they can't provide it themselves. Currently, it's the county that is providing housing - through a hotel in Ann Arbor. 

Michigan Secretary of State expands branch hours, walk-in flexibility

The Michigan Secretary of State is expanding the hours its branches will be open to include more time for appointments while also increasing flexibility for walk-in times. Currently open between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. during the week, branches will now open earlier and stay open later on select days.

Additionally, most driver's licenses and state IDs with an expiration after July 1 can be renewed online and won't require residents to visit a branch.

The new hours for SOS branches will take place between July 19 to Sept. 30. They will include:

  • All offices will remain open until 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, 
  • All offices will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

While the online appointment system remains in place, anyone who shows up to a branch unannounced will have staff serve them "if there is availability." If there is no availability, they will be told when the next opening is and be asked to wait or come back. 

Road rage leads to freeway shooting between semi-truck, passenger vehicle

Police are investigating a freeway shooting on I-75 after a semi-truck driver reported being targeted early Thursday morning. Michigan State Police were dispatched to the Dix Toledo Highway near southbound lanes on I-75 around 1:45 a.m. after reports of gunfire on the freeway.

A preliminary investigation found the 911 call that first came in was from the driver of a semi-truck who advised he was involved in a road rage incident.  According to the driver, an unknown male in a passenger vehicle shot at the trailer, striking it multiple times. 

Troopers shut down the highway to investigate the shooting and search for evidence. As of an hour ago, that section of I-75 had been reopened.

An investigation is ongoing. 

Viewer video catches large smoke ring over Clinton Township

Is it a UFO? Some commenters on social media speculated wildly after seeing a large ring in the sky Wednesday night in Clinton Township.

A video was provided by viewer Saman Koreil showing the object floating in the sky.

Some witnesses wondered if the object was a smoke ring from an electrical transformer blowing. Parts of Metro Detroit - specifically Macomb County was hit hard by a round of storms earlier in the evening.

So far any official cause yet is unclear. Stay tuned, when we learn more, you will too.

What else we're watching

  1. What are Wayne County's most dangerous intersections? We took stock of some of the most common locations for crashes and ranked them here.
  2. We're emerging into the post-Covid world. What that looks like is still uncertain. But FOX 2's Josh Landon took a stab at it with looks at kids, business, and mental health.
  3. West Bloomfield firefighters extinguished an apartment fire in the area of Orchard Lake and Maple Road. A family pet died in the fire. The department warned people to avoid any downed power lines that may be live around the area.
  4. St. Clair Shores is kicking off its own Social District Saturdays this weekend. A new initiative that cities are taking up that allows people to carry alcoholic beverages away from restaurants, St. Clair Shores will add more locations once they receive permits.
  5. The Michigan governor gave her blessing to more than $4 billion in Covid relief funding that will close the school-funding gap in the state. She's expected to sign the entire education budget later this week.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

After storms packed a surprising punch on their way through Michigan Wednesday, there's another chance for rain Thursday. It likely won't be as severe but expect showers in the mid-afternoon and a high of 79 degrees.

Japan declares state of emergency in Tokyo 2 weeks before Olympics

The Japanese Prime Minister announced a state of emergency for Tokyo due to rising COVID-19 infections with the Olympics opening in just two weeks. 

Japan Prime Minister Yoshihde Suga said the state of emergency would go into effect on Monday and last through Aug. 22. This means the Olympics, opening on July 23 and running through Aug. 8, will be held entirely under emergency measures. The Paralympics open on Aug. 24.

"Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures," Suga said in announcing the emergency measures.