Consumers Energy is prepared for what is expected to be a devastating winter storm beginning early Saturday. Freezing rain is expected to begin across much of south central Michigan Saturday morning and continue for several hours. Forecasts are still being updated but as much as one-half to one inch of ice accumulation is possible in a general area from I-94 north to U.S. 10. A half inch of ice can add as much as 500 pounds to a span of power lines. Also accompanying the ice will be gusty winds and heavy snow in Northern Michigan.
This storm will likely lead to downed wires and power outages that could last several days. Hazardous road conditions during and immediately after the storm may delay restoration and damage assessment work as we keep safety our top priority.
Consumers Energy reminds the public to stay at least 25 feet away from a downed wire and anything it is touching. Report downed wires by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050. Always assume a downed wire, even if not arcing and sparking, is energized. Our crews are ready to respond as quickly as possible, to make situations safe and restore power.
Consumers Energy encourages the media to visit the Consumers Energy Outage Center at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/OutageCenter for the latest on storm restoration times, tips on what customers can do before, during and after a storm and how customers can sign up for free outage alerts.
In addition to being aware of possible downed wires, the public is reminded, if they lose power, to 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. Portable generators should be operated 25 feet outside of any building, away from windows, doors and vents.
“While freezing rain accretions of 0.25 to 0.50 of an inch (6-12 millimeters) will be common from northeastern Oklahoma to southern New Brunswick, a narrow zone from part of the Lower Michigan Peninsula to portions of southern Ontario, southwestern Quebec and northern New York state are likely to receive an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of freezing rain accretion near 1 inch (25 millimeters),” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
People should be prepared for the power to be out for an extended period. Ice accretions of this magnitude can have roads blocked and power out for days. Motorists and airline passengers with flexible plans may consider holding off travel until Sunday in the Central states and Monday in the Northeast when much quieter weather will settle over these areas.