When will the power be back on, Detroit to fight its census drop, Clarkston mom loses new home to fire

The shockwaves from the Wednesday and Thursday storms blitzing Michigan can still be felt in the hundreds of thousands of homes still without power more than a day later.

DTE says it is aiming to restore electricity to 80% of customers without power by the end of Saturday - and 95% should see the lights back on by the end of the weekend.

At its peak, more than 600,000 customers from the electricity provider, as well as 250,000 Consumers Energy customers, had lost power, leading to one of the worst power outages in recent memory.

As of 7 a.m., DTE still had 525,865 people without power, according to their outage map. And on Consumers Energy's outage map, it says 158,705 people - most of them in south Michigan - also didn't have power.

Consumers Energy's vice president has said most customers will have power by the end of Saturday. 

DTE says it brought in more than a thousand line workers to aid the 1,800 crews already working to restore power. So far, they've managed to help 150,000 customers. 

Luckily for customers without air conditioning, Friday morning will be the final day of heat and humidity before a cool and likely dry weekend in Metro Detroit.

But even expected salvation in a couple of days isn't enough to curb the mounting frustrations from customers. Lawrence Lewis and his neighbors in Oak Park had planned on putting together the neighborhood's annual block party on Saturday. But that isn't guaranteed anymore.

"We still need electricity to run all of our cotton candy machines, run our DJ, run the bounce houses," he said. "I don't know anybody's lungs that strong to blow up a bounce house by yourself all day."

DTE CEO Jerry Norcia attributed the recent power outages to a spike in high wind events. The company has prioritized investments in the grid and tree trimming, he said, since burying powerlines underground would be much more expensive.

"We've actually looked at what it would take to go back and retrofit a community and bury everything and we looked at a community of about 14,000 customers and the costs were astronomical, $500 to $700 billion dollars," Norcia said. "What we found was if we spend $250,000 on aggressive tree trimming, we get the same reliability result."

It's not just high wind events that are causing carnage in Michigan's electrical grid. The region is also experiencing a lot more rain than it used to. Pairing power outages with major flood events has created a bad dream for many residents these past few months - and likely won't be the last severe weather summer that hits. 

Detroit will fight census count after 10.5% drop

Detroit went all out in 2020 to count its population - which city leaders worked to grow over the last decade. "It was a war effort to set up their whole outreach program to get the word out, go door-to-door and everything was wiped out by the pandemic," said Kurt Metzger.

And the numbers show it. Despite the city's best efforts, demographer Kurt Metzger, who is part of Detroit's census-wide committee, says the count was much lower than expected, with a 10.5 percent drop since 2010. Metzger broke down the racial composition and believes the city was undercounted, since every ethnic group went up in population, except African-Americans.

According to the census report, the population fell by 93,000. But the census count was also cut short. The data estimated only 254,000 households were in Detroit, yet DTE Energy reports 280,000 homes are currently paying electric bills - a discrepancy of 25,000.

"If you are going to challenge the census, start working neighborhood-by-neighborhood, get the DTE info at the neighborhood level," Metzger said. "(Count) how many DTE hookups there is and compare it to how many households in the census."

Mom, daughter lose home after lightning strike sparks fire

It was supposed to be a fresh start for Lisa Hanes and her 11-year-old daughter after they moved into a new home in Clarkston 13 days ago. "Now it's all gone," she said.

"How am I going to tell my daughter? She is out of town and I'll have to tell her tomorrow," Hanes said. When she comes home, she'll return to a boarded-up home and some baby pictures her mom grabbed as keepsakes before leaving the home. While flooding and high winds were problems, this week's storms also brought lightning strikes that got a little too close for comfort for some. 

Hanes woke up by one that felt "really close by." But after she went back to bed, someone was pounding on her window, yelling her house was on fire. Firefighters tried their best, but most of the home's possessions were lost in the fire.

"Every single thing I had was put into this," Hanes said. "I work full time and I just started Door Dashing part-time just so I could furnish this place, and now it is gone." She says they’ll stay with her parents for now. But first, she has to break the news - less than two weeks after moving in. This mom and daughter need everything. Friends have set up a GoFundMe page. You can help by going HERE.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, Masonic Temple requiring vaccines

If you plan on attending a concert or other live performance at the Royal Oak Music Theatre or the Masonic Temple, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

AEG Presents announced Thursday that it will require concertgoers and event staff at its nearly 50 venues across the country to be vaccinated. The vaccination policy will be in full effect by Oct. 1. Before Oct. 1, attendees will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of a show to enter.

The policy by AEG is just the latest attempt to curb the spread of the virus at entertainment events after live music began returning this summer. Live Nation recently said it would leave COVID protocol decisions up to performers.

Fans attending Dave Chapelle's comedy shows this week in Detroit are required to take a COVID test the day of the show and get a wristband for entry.

2 shot, 1 killed inside car, causing crash on Detroit's east side

Two people were shot, one fatally, while inside a Grand Marquis sedan Thursday night on Detroit's east side at Harding and E. Warren.

The victims fled but crashed their car into a fence in the 5000 block of St. Clair. The 34-year-old man inside died from the shooting and a 25-year-old woman inside was wounded, according to Detroit police.

The male victim was dead at the scene while the woman is in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

There is no suspect description or circumstances known at this time, according to investigators.

What else we're watching

  1. What do you do if the power goes out at an intersection? It's a question lots of us are probably asking this week. Here's the guide
  2. What exactly is going on with all this rain? This is the wettest five-year period in Great Lakes history. There's a reason for that
  3. The return of Roadkill Nights is this weekend and will feature drag racing and car displays in Pontiac on Saturday. Things kick off from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  4. The 2nd annual Taco Fest in Springfield Oaks County Park will kick off today at 4 p.m. and operate throughout the weekend. Tickets are $7 a person online and $10 in person.
  5. Be on the lookout for more construction this weekend as a familiar series of construction projects on I-75 will shut down ramps at different times in the next couple of days.

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Daily Forecast

Residents just have to get through Friday morning and they can say bye to this round of heat and humidity. A cold front is expected to replace it, along with a couple of showers this afternoon. But by weekend, things should be pleasant.

FDA approves booster COVID-19 vaccine shot for immunocompromised

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized an additional COVID-19 booster vaccine for people who have compromised immune systems as the highly contagious delta variant continues to fuel a resurgence of U.S. infections.

The agency announced the approval on Thursday evening, saying boosters would be a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people who are immunocompromised at least 28 days after getting their second shot. The FDA made no mention of such patients who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19," Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's acting commissioner, said in a statement.