(WWJ/Christy Strawser)

Flooding, Down Power Lines - The Hurdle After Icy Rain

Roadways are flooded and about 1,600 lines are down

April 15, 2018 - 8:15 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - An ice storm that hit metro Detroit is causing major power problems Sunday.  

It's an odd time of year for a freezing rain storm  - but that's exactly what we're dealing with mid-April. The immediate effects include power outages, flooding and fallen power lines. 

About 280,000 people are without power Sunday - and for those that brave the roads there are numberous road closures due to flooding and fallen power lines. 

Both directions of I-75 were closes for hours due to flooding. Along many surburban streets lights were out and intersections become congested four-way stops. 

Trevor Lauer is the president of DTE Electric and outlines the storm has had an impact on the electrical system.  

" The ice accumulating on the trees and then the trees falling over and the tree branches falling on the power lines. The average elecrical span can gain about 500 pounds when it has a quarter inch of ice on it," says Lauer. "And right now we are seeing a quarter to a half inch of ice came through our service territory." 

Additional utility workers from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana have arrived to assist the crews from Consumers Energy.

"Our electrical system has been heavily impacted by the winter ice storm hit - we have about 310,000 customers impacted so far - with outages - we've restored approximately 30,000 of those," says Lauer. "We have about 280,000 customers, right now, without power."

Lauer says there are 1,600 power lines down. Lauer says people should stay at least 20 feet from a downed wire.  

"We largely thought that the ice would be north of I-69 - so starting yesterday - we actually moved about 200 of our crews and put them in hotels north of I-69 to be prepared to deal with the outages the we expected," says Lauer. "We didn't expect the ice to hit as far down south - none of that was forecast in the weather models. We are dealing with it. We just ask the customers for some patience." 

There's been no timetable set for full restoration, but it will be a couple days. 

Customers can also, report an outage, check the status of an outage and get useful tips what to do before, during and after a storm by visiting www.ConsumersEnergy.com/OutageCenter

For the latest from the roads, stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 during Traffic and Weather on the 8s, 24-hours a day.