7500 people still in the dark following Southwest Michigan ice storm

By: Kevin Lewis Email
By: Kevin Lewis Email

Thousands of people across our viewing remain in the dark after losing power Sunday night.

An ice storm is to blame for snapping power lines and trees throughout Berrien, Cass, Van Buren and St. Joseph counties.

On Monday, Midwest Energy Cooperative saw 16,000 outages in its grid alone. AEP had another 1,500 outages within its system.

Although the conditions and damage are far worse on the southeast side of the state, southwest Michigan’s greater population means a larger number of people saw their power turn off.

Traveling the roads of Cass County, it seems everything is covered in ice. From the ground to fence lines and street signs, the ice even delivered its frosty bite to mail boxes too.

The American Legion post in Edwardsburg had everything prepared for its blood drive on Monday, but the icy mess left its halls barren.

"Yes it is rather quiet today. Right about now you'd see a number of people waiting in line to give blood. You'd also see individuals donating blood,” post commander Thomas Brown said.

You also would have seen students playing at recess had Edwardsburg Public Schools not cancelled class. The district's had four snow days this school year, however Monday marked its first ice day.

Slick roads caused some problems. The ice on trees and power lines caused the rest.

"When you're dealing with the elements, this is when our guys work the hardest,” Patty Nowlin with the Midwest Energy Cooperative said.

Dozens of Midwest’s electric crews have been working around the clock since 2 a.m. Monday.

"Crews have to re-hang a lot of line today. They have to clear trees and brush off lines. They even had to put some new poles up because many came down,” Nowlin added.

Every line repaired, every outage restored, until 16,000 people across the Midwest Energy grid have weathered this winter storm.

"The power of Mother Nature is unbelievable and you really see it in a storm like this,” Nowlin concluded.

Midwest Energy does not have an exact timetable as to when everyone’s power will be restored. Instead, it’s warning residents to prepare for the worst, which could mean no power until late this week.

Even so, crews made great strides Monday. By 7 p.m., 8500 of the originally 16,000 customers knocked out, had running electricity again.

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