June 11, 2020

Thousands cleaning up after close calls from storms, waiting for electricity to come back

Thousands cleaning up after close calls from storms, waiting for electricity to come back

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (6/11/2020) – Thursday was a busy day of cleaning up following damaging wind, rain and storms that hit Mid-Michigan a day earlier.

Thousands of residents were still waiting for the lights to come back on 24 hours after the rain and winds subsided.

Consumers Energy was still working to restore power to 107,000 customers across Michigan on Thursday evening. That includes nearly 20,000 in the hardest hit areas of Arenac, Bay, Gratiot and Saginaw counties.

DTE Energy still had more than 62,000 customers without power on the east side of Michigan. Nearly 7,700 were located in western Huron County along the Saginaw Bay shoreline from Sleeper State Park to Sebewaing.

Kiara Howe also had a close call with a falling tree at her home on Gloucester Drive in Thomas Township. It landed on her fence and part of a neighbor’s shed.

Howe noticed the skies were getting quite dark, the wind was picking up and she felt a forboding sense of imminent danger approaching. She decided to let her dog, Lola, out one last time.

As soon as she walked inside, Howe heard a noise so she ran back out to grab Lola. The wind really started to crank up.

As soon as she grabbed the dog, one of the trees in the backyard came toppling down, missing Howe by literally just a few feet.

“I thought I was going to die if I’m being honest,” Howe said. “I was really close and I figured that with the winds being so high and the trees falling, I didn’t think I was going to make it in the house on time cause it all happened so fast.”

A lot of people said the storms moved through very quickly.

For one man in Saginaw County’s Thomas Township, the storms took something away he’s had for 60 years — his treasured maple trees.

“I dug them out of his 20-acre woods there and brought them back and planted them and every spring they would ooze out sugar, syrup and they give us a lot of shade,” said Jack Guttowski.

All that’s left is a stump in the front yard and some broken limbs in the back. He already had a tree removal service come and chip what had fallen.

Guttowski was home Thursday when the storms rolled through. He said the 35-foot tall tree fell just within a foot of hitting his home. As for the maple in the back he believe it got struck by lightning.

He remembers seeing a brief flash of lightning and hearing loud thunder. Then he found what appeared to be burn marks in the tree after it fell.

Guttowski is grateful that he and his wife are OK and that their home didn’t suffer any damage. As for the trees, he plans to start all over.

“When they were healthy trees, in the fall the leaves would fall and you’d swear there was a light on in front of the house, and they would just glow — the maple leaves off the tree,” Guttowski said. “It was always so pretty. A lot of work raking and cleaning them up and I guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore. But yeah we got attached to them and it was part of us I guess.”

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