By Bill O'Brien
TRAVERSE CITY —
The lights are slowly coming back on for thousands of northern Michigan residents who lost power during the massive weekend snowstorm, but thousands more are still waiting.
More than 27,000 area residents were still without power early Monday morning, including more than 20,000 Consumers Power customers in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Manistee counties. Utility crews were continuing with repairs and Consumers was slated to issue an updated report late this morning. More than 147,000 Consumers customers in the region lost power at some point during the storm.
Traverse City Light and Power restored power to all but approximately 50 customers by 9:30 a.m. this morning. The utility expected to have the rest back on by noon today, spokeswoman Jessica Wheaton said. City utility crews were assisted by two line crews from Lansing Board of Power & Light and single crews from Grand Have, Lowell and Zeeland.
Six tree crews from Indiana and three tree crews from southern Michigan also helped with clean-up work that's expected to continue for several days.
"Now that we are close to having all customers fully restored, our tree crews will help clean up the trees and branches that were taken down or removed to get service restored to our customers," Light & Power executive director Ed Rice said.
The city utility reported about 2,800 customers without power Saturday morning, nearly 25 percent of its total customer base. That number was reduced to approximately 1,200 customers by Sunday morning while about 300 were still without power late Sunday afternoon.
Cherryland Electric Cooperative whittled its powerless customer numbers to about 7,000 this morning. About 20,000 of the cooperative's 33,000 customers lost power at some point over the weekend.
Cherryland General Manager Tony Anderson said Monday that widespread damage from the storm is making it difficult for repairs crews to move quickly.
"We've got crews scattered all over the place," Anderson said. "It's just kind a slow go out there right now."
Grand Traverse Sheriff's deputies responded to about 250 calls for service from 4 p.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Monday morning, Capt. Randy Fewless said. That's compared to about 150 calls for the same time period on a normal winter weekend, he said.
Deputies responded to 70 mostly weather-related burglary alarms, Fewless said. They also handled 75 traffic crashes, including vehicles in ditches, though no serious injuries were reported.