Storms resumed overnight, adding to thunderstorms that cut power for more than 600,000 people statewide Wednesday, bringing downpours and high winds, and toppling trees have left the region.
Residents could see more severe weather through the weekend.
“We are watching a line of storms forming over northern lower Michigan and Wisconsin,” meteorologist Trent Frey said, adding the main window could be between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday.
Wind gusts could reach more than 40 mph in some spots, along with frequent lightning and downpours, and “a tornado or two cannot be ruled out,” the weather service said.
On the state’s west side, a thunderstorm watch is in effect until 2 a.m. for Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.
Thursday could bring more thunderstorms in the afternoon as temperatures hit the 90s, according to the weather service. Friday could see highs in the mid-80s and a 40% chance of storms.
The trend owes to a stalled cold front, Frey said. “It can be expected with this type of air mass when it’s so hot and humid.”
The storm pattern prompted the Great Lakes Water Authority to urge residents to watch for flooding threats.
“The ground today is still damp from rain earlier this week and will generate more runoff with less water being absorbed into the ground,” it said in a statement.
“As of Wednesday, the regional system is still prepared and working as designed. However, due to the large volumes of rain received throughout the week, the collection system is partially full and GLWA operations is in the process of draining the system through its treatment facilities to bring levels down. Throughout the rains this week, GLWA has encountered no operational issues within its collection system.”
Rain and wind were widespread Wednesday as storms raced across the state, prompting marine warnings on waterways such as the St. Clair River as well as thunderstorm warnings for much of southeast Michigan.
Residents in Harrison Township and Grosse Pointe Farms were warned to head to a sturdy building after emergency alerts were issued for “destructive 80 mph winds” until 4:45 p.m. “Take shelter,” the alerts warned. Sirens also were sounded in St. Clair Shores.
Damage stretched across a wide swath after wind gusts above 60 mph were reported at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus as well as in Oakland and Macomb counties.
Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township reported gusts of 75 mph, and Lake St. Clair Metropark registered 54 mph winds, the weather service said.
Tree limbs were reported down in Monroe, Oakland, Livingston, Wayne and Genesee counties, and trees toppled in Brighton and near a hospital in Wyandotte, the weather service said. One dropped on Milford Road near the entrance to Kensington Metropark.
Toppled trees damaged a house as well as minivan in Berkley neighborhoods.
“We were sitting on our front porch and we heard noises and sirens everywhere,” said Lauren Brudenell, who lives on Kenmore where a tree fell on the house. She said she hung out on her porch during the storm as the skies grew dark.
“Everyone is out of power here,” she said. “A lot of the Berkley DPW came out right away to clean up” debris and city-owned trees or limbs that feel in the storm.
The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office tweeted its 911 lines were down at one point because of the storm. “If you have an emergency, please contact 586-469-5502. This will get you to our Dispatch,” the office tweeted before the system was back up around 7:40 p.m.
One Twitter user shared photos of uprooted trees near Mooreville Road, west of Milan.
On the Dearborn Area Community Members Facebook page, users posted pictures of snapped tree trunks and smoking wires.
In Sumpter Township, public safety officials said they responded to numerous power lines and trees down from the storm.
“These cause a tremendous safety risk and we ask you to stay clear of any down wires,” officials said in an alert.
DTE Energy reported about 383,000 customers without power in the region, down from more than 410,000 earlier. There were large clusters near Milan, Howell, Ypsilanti, Westland, Waterford Township, Utica and Chesterfield, according to the utility’s online outage map.
“The severe weather caused damage to parts of our electric infrastructure and knocked down more than 2,000 power lines,” DTE said in a statement. “Our teams are working 16 hour shifts around the clock to restore power and secure down power lines as quickly and safely as possible. More than 1,800 DTE personnel are working to restore service, and we have called in more than 1,000 additional out-of-state linemen to help with restoration efforts.”
Consumers Energy reported about 220,000 customers in the dark across the state Wednesday night, including large areas near Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing.
The company said 285,000 homes and businesses had been affected during the storms in the last 24 hours, and about 70,000 homes had been restored since late Tuesday.
More than 450 Consumers Energy and contract crews are working around the clock to restore most customers this week. On Thursday, they will be joined by crews from seven states, including New York, Tennessee and Missouri.
“For Consumers Energy, this is an all-hands-on-deck effort. Our top priority remains to restore power quickly and safely to customers who count on us,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations. “We appreciate our customers’ patience, particularly as we deal with another round of severe weather that has caused new outages today.”
The NWS’ Frey said much of the damage and downed power wires likely resulted from straight-line winds, which are associated with strong thunderstorms. But those are different from winds in a tornado, he said. “We didn’t see any rotation.”
Between the storms, extreme heat combined with high humidity to push heat indexes in southern Michigan to triple digits.
The weather service earlier issued a heat advisory for southeast Michigan. By 5 p.m., as the mercury hovered in the upper 80s, the heat index was near 95 in Detroit, the weather service said.
A heat advisory was in effect until 8 p.m. for parts of northern Indiana, southwest Michigan and northwest Ohio.
On the state’s west side, Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties ware under a beach hazard advisory until 3 a.m. Thursday.
“High wave action, strong currents, and dangerous swimming conditions expected,” the weather service said. “Piers may be heavily swamped by waves. … Strong currents can pull swimmers into deeper water and high waves can sweep people off piers. Waves of 3 to 6 feet are predicted.”