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Ice storm leaves 485,000 DTE customers in the dark

Ice storm leaves 485,000 DTE customers in the dark
Ice storm leaves 485,000 DTE customers in the dark 03:11
Down power line
Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

LIVONIA, Mich.  (CBS DETROIT) – DTE Energy believes some of the 485,000 customers who lost power during Wednesday's winter storm will be in the dark until Sunday. 

DTE's statement comes as strong gusts may cause more outages. 

Chainsaws churning were part of the soundtrack for this latest ice storm, in Center Line, so were wailing sirens when a powerline on Superior Street near Macarthur Boulevard came down Wednesday night.

"It was on fire high up and arcing and making noise, and there were people coming out of their houses, and there was nothing we could do," Neva Januszek, a neighbor, said. 

Denise Kott went live on Facebook to alert her neighbors.

"The lights flickered, and we heard a boom, and there were a lot of transformers going out. So we were like, 'Oh, there goes another one,'" Kott told CBS News Detroit.

Despite all the damage, the lights stayed on.

It wasn't the case out in Livonia, where Jessica Ritter fired up the generator around bedtime to keep the fridge going and her kids warm.

"I think it's beautiful. I just think that it's very it's pretty rough. I mean, we've been out of school for two days now," Ritter said as a DTE crew rolled into her subdivision. "I am very happy to see that. I hope that they can fix it."

DTE's priority Thursday is dealing with down wires.

The utility has about 3,200 people out in the field, including 1,000 lineworkers from out of state, with another 250 arriving Friday, according to DTE Energy President and COO Trevor Lauer.

With this amount of resources, they expect to have power back up and running for 100,000 customers by the end of Thursday. 

"Knowing all the information we have right now is that by the end of the day on Sunday, we'll have 95% of our customers restored. There will be customers that do not have power still on Monday," Lauer said. 

"As soon as possible would be great. Honestly, we'll see 50 degrees today. We hope for the best," Kristopher Whitmore, a manager at Coffee + Cream, said. 

DTE urges customers to stay 20 feet away from any down power line.

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