Power from Michigan to Maine Likely Not On Until Friday, Or Later
Weather forecasts for the weekend aren't generating any new hope for residents from Michigan to Maine, as well as some Canadian citizens, who have been in the dark since last Saturday. That's when a massive ice storm knocked out power for the region, killing at least 27. With lines still down thanks to heavy ice and snow, 200,000 people are without electricity, and continued snow this weekend is putting a damper on plans for restoration.
"Mother nature has not been kind to us," Michigan's Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd said. The company has brought in line workers from 11 different states to get things up and running again. They were able to get power back to 25,000 out of their 114,000 off-line customers on Christmas Day, but most will have to wait until Saturday. As of early Thursday morning, 105,000 homes and businesses in Michigan are still without electricity.
Across the area, shelters have been set up in schools and by the Salvation Army for families without power, many of whom made the best of a Christmas away from home.
"It's been a little strange, but we're hanging in there. We did our Christmas together last night," 27-year-old Michigan resident Ashley Walter told NBC News. Walter spent the night in a shelter with her family. "I packed little stockings and gave them to my husband, sisters and my daughter."
Michigan was the worst affected, with 156,000 powerless at peak outage, but Maine was proportionally hit the hardest: at least 36,000 Maine residents are still without power. Bangor Hydro Electric is hopeful that some of its 11,000 customers might have power by end of day Friday. However, two to six inches of snow are expected to add to the problem during the next few days, and downed trees continue to pose the biggest obstacle to resurrecting the lines.
"We've had two beautiful, sunny days in Maine and the ice isn't going anyplace," Maine Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Lynette Miller told ABC News. "They're very concerned about more weight coming down on trees that are already compromised by ice."
Those lucky enough to have back-up generators for power are facing another set of risks, however: Generators leaking carbon monoxide have killed one in Maine, and led to the hospitalization of an 80-year-old couple on Christmas Day.