DETROIT (WWJ) - Thousands of homes and businesses lost power Thursday in metro Detroit — but things aren't quite as bad as anticipated, even with very strong winds.
Outages were scattered, although some of the hardest-hit areas were Brighton, Milan and Willow Run Airport. Other areas dealing with outages include Telegraph near Cherry Hill in Dearborn and the 10 Mile Road and Groesbeck in Warren. On Hoover Road at 9 Mile, authorities said a blown transformer and downed power line were likely to blame for a party store fire.
A High Wind Advisory remains in effect for all of Southeast Michigan through 10 p.m. (A High Wind Warning for the area was canceled).
At the peak Thursday, about 22,000 DTE customers were in the dark. At 5 p.m. there were about 6,000, but DTE's Paul Whitman said that number could still grow.
"We do expect the outages to continue. We're gonna see winds similar to what we've seen today throughout the evening and tomorrow afternoon," Whitman said.
"But, however, we do think we'll be able to keep control on it and keep those numbers down, because we've got available resources that are out there restoring power as we speak," he said. "And they'll working throughout the night to make sure we restore customers as they come in."
On Washington Blvd. in Downtown Detroit whipping winds were making it difficult just to walk along the sidewalk Thursday morning.
Sharla Walker was doing her best, bundled up in a fluffy white scarf.
"Challenges have been almost getting blown into a light pole. That's one!" Walker said.
Janelle Seger told WWJ's Laura Bonnell both walking and driving in this have been tough.
"My hair's blowing all over the place, it's cold, tears are running down my eyes," she said. "When I'm driving I feel like the car's gonna tip over; it's pushing me towards the ledge and it's scary today."
Whitman said they asked their contractual workers to bring extra clothes on Thursday just in case they need to stay at work for a couple of days — and to be ready when called on to assist in restoring power.
He said that knowing ahead of time a storm like this is coming helps a lot.
"We have a very in-depth storm process that we've been refining over probably a hundred years," Whitman told WWJ Newsradio 950. "So, you know, we do this a couple times a year when these winds pick up like this, so we're very prepared to handle these situations."
"We are committed to providing you with a restoration estimate as soon as one is available. Remember to stay 20 feet away from downed power lines," DTE said, in a message posted to Facebook. "Thank you for your patience."
Meantime, Consumers Energy says they had about 2,600 customers were without power — mostly in southwest Michigan.
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