Wind wreaks havoc on area

ROGERS CITY — Wind gusts that reached 53 miles per hour caused a large power outage in Presque Isle County Monday night and Tuesday.

The outage continues today and covers much of northern Michigan. It has caused Rogers City Area Schools to close for the second day this week.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Media Coordinator Maire Chagnon-Hazelman said the entire service area took a hit.

“If the wind dies down, we’ll make further progress,” she said. “Right now, there are 3,874 (still without power), 7,170 restored and 11, 044 were predicted out at some point (Tuesday),” she said.

Chagnon-Hazelton said the 11,000 included some services that were restored during the day, but went back out due to more wind knocking down trees.

Gaylord National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Gillen said Alpena wind gusts reached up to 49 miles per hour at the airport.

Consumers Energy Media Coordinator Debra Dodd said she expected the outage to continue through (Tuesday) night. She said the company has about 1,100 workers and contractors to fix the problem. It had 200-1,000 customers without power.

Due to the large outage and the travel time required for many workers, she didn’t expect the outage to be fixed in one day.

She said it was a very busy day and the company lined up on-call staff at its call center during the night and crews worked into the night as well.

Dodd said when power outages happen this time of year people should layer their clothing.

“If you’re able get to a location where there is heat, if you’re using a generator, we cannot stress enough use it safely; never inside, in a house or building, not in a basement or garage or garage with the door open. If it’s not going to vent properly and it can cause a carbon monoxide problem,” she said.

Because of the strong winds there are down wires, Dodd said.

“Be aware of the possibility of them. Make sure you’re watchful of them. If you see one call 911 right way and keep children and pets at least 25 feet away,” she said.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.