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230,000 without power in metro Detroit after powerful storm

Posted at 10:41 PM, Sep 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-06 22:41:41-04

DETROIT — Thousands remained without power Saturday in the metro Detroit area after powerful thunderstorms the previous night that left one man dead and frightened others in its path.

The man was killed in the Detroit suburb of Warren after being electrocuted by a fallen power line in his backyard, according to CNN affiliate WDIV-TV. The victim did not realize the wire was down, the TV station said.

DTE Energy reported 230,000 customers without electricity as of 9 p.m. Saturday, down from 385,000 at the height of the outage.

Others attending church festivals around the region got a scare when high winds caused tents to collapse, WDIV reported.

Larry Tomenello recalled people yelling as strong winds literally picked up a massive tent over the St. Hubert’s Parish Festival in Harrison Township, prompting a frenetic push to get everyone out before 100-pound beams came crashing down.

The Rev. Paul Ballien described a similar situation at his church in Dearborn Heights.

“The tent … just collapsed over on one side,” Ballien told WDIV. “And I know there were people under there, and I just couldn’t do anything about it.”

DTE Energy said wind gusts as high as 75 mph downed more than 2,000 power lines across southeastern Michigan.

More than 600 personnel from as far away as Tennessee, Wisconsin and New York worked 16-hour shifts alongside tree-trimming crews to bring back service, according to the utility.

“The vast majority of customers will have their power restored by late Monday night, but … some small clusters of customers …. probably will not be restored until Tuesday or Wednesday,” DTE Energy said.

At least the weather cooperated in one respect Saturday in Michigan: Conditions were comfortable, with temperatures peaking in the mid-70s and relatively light winds.

The same storm system that caused the extensive power outages in Michigan moved through the Northeast on Saturday. Areas from eastern Pennsylvania all the way north to Maine could see powerful winds and large hail, said CNN meteorologist Todd Borek.

The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm watches and warnings from northern Virginia up the East Coast, including Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

There’s also a small chance for an isolated tornado, Borek said, but hail and damaging winds are the main threat.