Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 15, 2013

High winds cause power outages


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The gales of November came slashing through the area and caused power outages when trees and branches blew into power lines.

Electric companies said 319 residences were affected by power outages Wednesday night and early Thursday.

Power was restored to everyone Thursday by around 10 a.m., utility officials said.

“Wind is obviously one of the more frequent sources of outages since it blows trees over fairly frequently,” Frank Siepker, Cherryland Electric Cooperative’s engineering and operations manager, said. The co-op handled 161 wind- and tree-related outages in the last 12 months, Siepker said.

Winds whistled up to 53 mph at Grand Traverse Lighthouse on Wednesday night, reaching the upper range of what the National Weather Service classifies as gales.

Gusts reached about 30 mph in Grawn and 44 mph in Empire at about 9 p.m. Wednesday night, when many of the outages occurred.

Both Cherryland Electric and Consumers Energy dealt with outages along Grand Traverse Bay. Consumers Energy had 72 outages along the shoreline, and Cherryland Electric had outages in Long Lake, Interlochen, Northport, and Cedar that affected 247 customers.

On the other side of the state, winds affected travelers as they tried to make their away across the Mackinac Bridge.

Mackinac Bridge Authority officials issued escort and high wind warnings throughout Thursday. When winds reach between 35 and 50 mph, vehicles with attachments are escorted across the bridge to ensure nothing goes awry.

When winds climb to 20 mph, they issue a high wind warning.

“In November, it’s (changed) typically several times per week, as 20 mph and 35 mph escort mode warnings kind of toggle back and forth as winds are generally high this time of month,” said Anita Richardson, a communications representative for the Michigan Department of Transportation.