Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (2024)

Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (1)

While the scene outside for much of Lenawee County looked like something out of a winter wonderland, with ice-covered tree branches and frosted-over lights and electronic signs, conditions are anything but a wonderland in the aftermath of an ice and freezing rain storm that moved across lower Michigan throughout much of the day Wednesday.

The winter storm not only coated trees and shrubberywith ice but it also coated power lines with ice causing thousands of residents to lose power. Some Consumers Energy customers in Lenawee County have an estimated restoration of power time of Saturday evening or later, according to Craig Tanis, Lenawee County emergency management coordinator.

“It’s a mess,” he said Thursday morning. “It looks like a war zone or a tornado zone.”

Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (2)

Tons of trees and power lines are down throughout the county as a result of the heavy ice, he said. At least 28,367 Consumers Energy customers were without power as of 10 a.m. Thursday morning, but the energy providersaid it had restored more than 21,000 customers across its coverage area after about a half-inch of ice covered Michigan’s southern counties.

More online:Consumers Energy outage map

More online:MIdwest Energy & Communications outage map

Throughout lower Michigan, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Barry, Eaton, Ingham, Calhoun, Jackson, Washtenaw, Branch, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties were the hardest hit by Wednesday's weather conditions. Hillsdale County suffered the greatest outage percentage, with 91% of its Consumers Energy customer base — or 17,000 residents — without service by 3:30 a.m. Thursday. Van Buren County reported a 72% loss, and Jackson and Lenawee counties both with 60% of its customers without service early Thursday morning.

Lenawee County's 911 service briefly went offline late Wednesday night, prompting officials there to send out an alert to residents that calling their local fire department was the best way to report an emergency. Tanis said the outage at the 911 center lasted from 10:45 p.m. Wednesday to about midnight Thursday. 911 service has since been restored.

Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (3)

Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) reported that almost 4,000 customers in southeast and southwest Michigan, and northern Ohio were without power Thursday morning. As the day progressed and additionaloutages came in, that number of customers climbedup to 5,300, MEC said.

“Damage is extensive and includes many downed lines and some broken crosshairs,” MEC said in a news release. “...We are still assessing damage and responding to 911 calls to de-energize lines, which remains a first priority.”

Due to the number of trees down, energy companies like MEC and Consumers, said they have been faced with difficulties getting to lines to see the full extent of damage. Additional crews and contractors have been brought in throughout the last couple of days to assist with repairs.

Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (4)

Consumers Energy said it has more than 300 crews mobilized to restore power, and it is closely monitoring weather forecasts for strong wind gusts and tree branches moving as ice melts, which could cause further damage.

“We are responding to the damage caused by this storm with an all-hands-on-deck effort to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible,” Melissa Gleespen,one of Consumers Energy’s officers in charge, said in a news release.“We understand how frustrating a power outage can be, and we are grateful for our customers’ patience and understanding as our crews work deliberately to get the lights back on.”

Gleespen urged people to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, keep children and pets away, and report issues by calling 911 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050. Consumers is also asking the public to keep a safe distance from crews working along Michigan roads. MEC outages and issues can be called in by dialing 800-492-5989.

Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (5)

Estimated restoration times can vary, Consumers Energy said, based on damage assessments and changing weather conditions.

With Wednesday’s winter storm causing havoc throughout the county, schools, businesses and government offices have been closed to the public. Many area schools have been closed since Wednesday including Tec*mseh Public Schools which cited "power outages, downed trees, and icy conditions" in its closure announcement. The Adrian campus of Siena Heights University held its Wednesday classes remotely and canceled all campus activities on Thursday. Many area Ash Wednesday church services were also affected by the winter weather.

Other closures and announcements that have been shared with The Daily Telegram include:

  • The Rex B Martin Judicial Building and the Old Lenawee County Courthouse, both in Adrian, were closed Thursday due to a lack of power. Any proceedings scheduled for Thursday have been rescheduled to a later date. Lenawee County said it will provide updates to power restoration as it becomes available.
  • All Lenawee County senior centers and Daybreak Adult Day Services in Adrian have been closed since Wednesday citing weather concerns and power outages. During this closure period, home-delivered meal service has been canceled, as has site meals and curbside meal service. The department on aging offices are taking phone calls for those with questions or concerns. The number to call is 517-264-5280. The Adrian Senior Center, 327 Erie St., located in the Piotter Building, served as a warming center from noon until 2 p.m. Thursday, so that older adults could stop in for a time to gather, warm up and charge phones.
  • Some ProMedica Michigan facilities were closed Thursday, including ProMedica Physicians Family Medicine, Adrian; ProMedica Physicians Family Medicine, Onsted; The Heffron Clinic, Adrian; ProMedica Adrian College Medical Clinic, Adrian; and cardiac rehab at ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital, Adrian Township.
  • Adrian City Hall closed at noon Thursday and will remain closed through the weekend due to multiple streets throughout the city being closed down because of fallen trees and power lines. Several city intersections are also without power, the city said in a news release. Such intersections without power should be treated as a 4-way stop, and drivers should use caution when driving. Downed trees can be reported to the city of Adrian by calling 517-264-4876. The city said it plans to open the compost site near Oakwood Cemetery and collect fallen branches at a later date. More information about that schedule will be announced after the city clears streets and responds to immediate emergencies.
  • Deerfield village residents areable to set their tree limbs and branches in a pile by the road and have them picked up next week by village crews.
  • Blissfield village will also be scheduling a brush pickup to assist property owners with cleanup. Department of Public Works staff are clearing streets first, the village said, and will then address trees on private property. The Blissfield Township Fire Department has opened the fire hall, 299 E. Adrian St., as a warming centerfor those without power and heat.
  • In Hudson, two churches are open to those who need a place to warm up. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 207 S. Market St., and Hudson Wesleyan Church, 229 Hill St., are open to those in need, the city said in an announcement.
  • Morenci Church of the Nazarene, 751 N. Summit St., is open as a warming center for Morenci residents who are without power.
Lenawee County, much of lower Michigan, picking up pieces after ice storm (2024)
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