HILLSDALE COUNTY, Mich. — Some Hillsdale County residents have had no power for almost a week now in the aftermath of powerful storms that swept across the state Wednesday into Thursday morning.
Hillsdale County Emergency Management Director Doug Sanford said he’s never really seen anything like it.
“On a normal Thursday, we handle less than 200 telephone calls,” Sanford said. “On Thursday the 12th, for that 24 hours, my staff handled over 1,000 calls. People needing help. They were trapped. Trees were down. Their power was out, trees in the roadway.”
The damage stretched from community to community.
“I’ve seen localized storms that were much worse but I’ve never seen a path of damage this wide and this much damage,” Sanford said. “It goes from south in Reading to all the way up into Jackson and Calhoun counties. Almost all of that whole path. Not everything is taken out but a lot is missing.”
Parts of Jonesville saw major damage, especially its City Hall. The roof is half gone, blown over to a nearby park.
City Manager Jeff Gray says right now they’re trying to repair the structure with a temporary membrane so any rain will stay out of the building.
“We’ve got a crew in right now that’s helping to drive the water that has made its way into the building, trying to get that building secured so we can start to look at the next steps of how we get city hall permanently opened again,” Gray said.
In the meantime, if Jonesville residents need to conduct business at City Hall, Gray says to contact the Jonesville Police Department at (517) 849-2101 or on their website. The number to city hall is currently disconnected.
Sandra Smith, who lives near Jonesville City Hall, said she and her husband were upstairs when the second wave of storms pushed through the area.
“We heard this big crash and I felt the house shake,” Smith said. “My husband and I were asleep upstairs. We have several animals. Upstairs is fine. Just a few cracks. We came downstairs and we have a tree in our living room. I was shocked. We were all shocked but we were also thankful. That was our first thought because nobody was in the living room.”
Smith is counting her blessing that the damage to her home wasn’t worse.
“It looks like a lot of damage from the outside,” Smith said. “We’re lucky it’s only the living room.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel is calling on Consumers Energy and DTE Energy to voluntarily credit customers affected by the outages and provide greater credits to assist customers who have lost hundreds of dollars in food and housing costs.
Litchfield City Manager Doug Terry said Consumers Energy has been out in the area all afternoon and is making slow but steady progress.
“The majority of residential is still without power,” Terry said. “We’re concerned about especially the elder and their needs but I know that Consumers Energy is working diligently to try to get our power restored to everyone. There was significant damage throughout the entire community and the county.”
You can check here for continuous updates on Consumers Energy’s progress in restoring power.
Officials are saying some people may have to wait a bit longer to receive all of their services as some cable and internet providers were using poles that were knocked down.
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