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UPDATE: Consumers Energy continues to restore power to those affected by the storms on Wednesday

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Posted at 3:11 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 16:41:30-04

LANSING, Mich. — Severe thunderstorms brought heavy rain, high winds and possible tornadoes to parts of Michigan, damaging buildings and leaving tens of thousands without power.

Consumers Energy is reporting that as of 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 42,000 of the 54,000 homes and businesses that had lost power were restored.

“Our dedicated crews take their jobs of quickly and safely returning normalcy to our customers very seriously,” said Consumers Energy Vice President Greg Salisbury. “Our customers have been very understanding while we respond to downed wires and repair our system, and we wholeheartedly appreciate their patience. We want those still affected to know that we will continue working 16-hour shifts around the clock until the final customers have their electric service restored.”

He added that the majority of the customers affected should have service by the end of Thursday.

And that over 57,000 Consumers Energy customers were affected by the severe weather, which packed winds more than 50 MPH and reports of possible tornadoes in West Michigan, including the city of Grand Rapids.

And that about 25,000 customers were without power at 11:30 a.m., including over 18,000 in hardest-hit Kent County.

Consumers Energy said more than 280 downed wires have been attributed to the weather and from customer service representatives to damage assessors and lineworkers, more than 750 Consumers Energy employees and contract personnel are engaged in the restoration effort.

Salisbury urged customers and the public to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, keep children or pets away and report the issue by calling 911 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.

Consumers Energy said to also keep these safety tips in mind:
• Call 2-1-1 if you are looking for help connecting to temporary shelter or other resources that offer assistance in your community. 2-1-1 is a free statewide service.
• Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement, enclosed patio or near any air intakes. Doing so could cause a generator to produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas.
• Be alert to crews working along roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.
• Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.
• In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customer’s home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.

Customers can report an outage, check the status of an outage and get tips on what to do after a storm by clicking here.

No injuries were reported in the storms Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says a possible tornado was reported in the western Michigan city of Grand Rapids and emergency management officials in surrounding Kent County say several possible brief tornadoes were spotted on radar.

Firefighters evacuated a Grand Rapids apartment building after winds tore off the roof and damaged other nearby buildings.

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