By ART BUKOWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY —
Thousands of area residents remained in the dark as utility companies continued to work to restore power after a major winter storm.
Cherryland Electric Cooperative in Grawn and Great Lakes Energy of Boyne City continued to report widespread outages in the Grand Traverse region as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Cherryland said outages still affected about 5,400 members, including 763 near Lake Leelanau, 844 near Lake Ann, 205 near Thompsonvillle and 817 in and around East Bay Township.
Great Lakes listed about 3,000 members out, with more than 300 out in Kalkaska County and about 800 in Antrim County.
Consumers Energy expected to have all customers back on by Wednesday evening, officials there said. More than 180,000 Consumers customers around Michigan were affected by weather-related outages.
The storm hammered the region beginning late Friday and through the weekend. The fierce weather and outages forced hundreds of residents to check into local hotels or rescue shelters. Repair crews have been slowed by widespread tree damage, which downed power lines and hindered access to remote areas without electric service.
Massive amounts of snow dumped by the storm — up to two feet in some areas — began to melt Tuesday as temperatures rose. The melt accelerated Wednesday, when temperatures topped 50 degrees in many areas. More snow loss was anticipated overnight with rain showers changing to snow.
Temperatures are expected to be more seasonal today with highs close to 40 degrees, and cooler Friday with a chance of snow and highs in the lower 30s. But a pre-spring warm-up will resume this weekend, with temperatures in the mid-40s Saturday warming into the 50s early next week.