Crews work to restore power to thousands of Michiana customers

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – 4 p.m. update

More than 24,000 Indiana Michigan Power customers were without service Tuesday after inclement weather Monday night.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, half of customers were back on the grid. Approximate outage counts by state and county were:

INDIANA: 10,650
* St. Joseph County: 4,900
* Elkhart County: 3,300
* Allen: 650
* Noble: 800
* LaPorte: 350
* DeKalb: 650

MICHIGAN: 3,550
* Berrien: 2,100
* Cass: 350
* St. Joseph: 850
* Van Buren: 250

I&M said the South Bend-Elkhart area was the hardest hit. The company hopes to restore power Wednesday to Southwest Michigan by 3 p.m., Ft. Wayne & Northeast Indiana by 8 p.m., and South Bend/Elkhart by 11:59 p.m.

Ice, sleet and high winds contributed to the outage.

"If you have a generator in your home we ask that you follow all the instructions that come with that to operate that safely. We encourage our customers to do whatever they need to do, safely, to make sure they are comfortable," I&M Spokesperson Schnee Garrett said.

One South Bend resident was patiently waiting for his power to return.

"Breakfast is delayed because I can't turn my stove on and the house is cooling off but not that cold," Elliot Rosen said. "One thing that is of concern is the ice. I didn't realize how slippery it was. So what I've been out here trying to do is get these slush and ice off the ground so people won't slip."

Aside from residents, the outage also slowed down drivers.

Stop signs were up at intersections like Michigan and Angela where drivers were forced to remember the basic 'rules of the road.'

I&M is warning customers that high winds are also expected again Tuesday night, leading to more potential outages.

Customers can always report, or check, outages on the I&M website or their new mobile app.

Click here for the NIPSCO outage map

2 p.m. update from I&M:

Indiana Michigan Power crews continue to restore power to customers who lost service during the early morning ice storm that swept across northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. As of 2 p.m., power was restored to one-third of Indiana customers who lost service due to the storm, and about half of affected Michigan customers.

I&M is deploying our full complement of company crews and securing additional resources to restore power to customers. More than 350 employees and contractor field personnel have been secured to assess damage and restore power, and more are expected to join in the restoration Tuesday.

Ice of up to one-third inch thick was reported over much of the service territory. Winds were an aggravating factor to the icing, leading to ice freezing on trees and power lines. Wind gusts of at least 30 mph were reported in South Bend and Fort Wayne, and as high as 36 mph in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Numerous trees and limbs blowing and falling into power lines were reported.

As of 2 p.m., approximate outage counts by state and county were:

INDIANA: 14,000
• St. Joseph County: 6,550
• Elkhart County: 3,700
• Allen: 1,300
• Noble: 1,100
• LaPorte: 350
• Marshall: 400
• DeKalb: 600

MICHIGAN: 3,250
• Berrien: 1,150
• Cass: 700
• St. Joseph: 1,150
• Van Buren: 250

Estimated times of restoration will be announced after they are determined later today. Full restoration will not occur today. In addition, customers should be aware that high winds that could cause additional outages are expected again this evening.

I&M urges the public to be cautious of downed power lines as well as trees that could be partially damaged and at risk of dropping limbs or falling. Downed wires should always be considered energized and dangerous. Keep away from them and anything they could be touching. Watch for wires down that could be touching fences or hidden under tree limbs or debris. Stay away and call I&M at 800-311-4634 to report any downed wires.

Customers can also report outages and check the latest restoration information for their account via our website (IndianaMichiganPower.com/Outages) or our new mobile app; search for Indiana Michigan Power in the App Store or Google Play to download it today.

You can also follow us on Facebook (Indiana Michigan Power) and Twitter (@IN_MI_Power) for the latest updates.

9 a.m.

More than 15,000 are without power Tuesday morning due to icy conditions.

According to Indiana Michigan Power, around 6,000 outages are being reported in or near South Bend, while at least 6,500 people are without power near Elkhart/Bristol, as of 7:25 a.m. I&M is reporting around 25,000 outages in all of Michiana.

NIPSCO is reporting around 2,000 outages in our area. At least 500 people are without power in LaPorte, 500 in Millersburg, and 500 in LaGrange.

This is a developing story. Stay with us as we learn new information