Powerless Christmas for 37,000-plus in Grand Rapids and West Michigan
It’s going to be a powerless Christmas for many households in Grand Rapids and elsewhere across West Michigan because of a weekend ice storm and a continued wintry mix including snow, officials said Monday night.
Consumers Energy crews were working overnight with the hope of turning the lights back on for many before Christmas Day.
“We are starting to see a decrease in the number of people who are without power,” said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy delivery.
An estimated 182,800 customers were without power at 9:30 p.m., according to Consumers Energy.
However, the National Weather Service’s Grand Rapids Office doesn’t expect favorable weather conditions over the next few days to assist restoration efforts. The forecast is for sub-freezing temperatures, snowfall of more than a half foot in some areas, breezy conditions with wind gusts over 25 miles per hour and ice-covered tree branches.
Jackson, Mich.-based Consumers Energy said it does not expect to restore power in the hardest-hit areas until Wednesday in eastern and northern Kent, Allegan, Ionia and Montcalm counties; until Thursday in greater Grand Rapids and western Kent County; until Friday in Barry and Calhoun counties; and until Saturday in some portions of Ottawa County.
Genesee County is the most affected area in the state in terms of Consumers Energy customers without electricity. In West Michigan, 6,083 were without power in Kent County, 1,100 in Ottawa County, 17,545 in Barry County, 4,962 in Ionia County, 3,326 in Allegan County and 4,922 in Kalamazoo County as of 9:30 p.m., according to Consumers Energy.
According to the American Red Cross, emergency shelters have been opened at:
- Burton Middle School, 2133 Buchanan Ave. SW in Grand Rapids. Only two people were using the shelter as of Monday night.
- Thornapple Kellogg Middle School, 10375 Green Lake Road in Middleville; 25 were utilizing the shelter.
- Ionia Educational Center, 250 E. Tuttle Road in Ionia; three were using the shelter.
- Barry Township Hall, 155 E. Orchard St. in Delton; none were using the shelter.
The forecast was calling for four to eight inches of snow with a winter weather warning through 7 a.m. Tuesday in Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Barry, Newaygo and Van Buren, counties.
The Monday afternoon high was 27 degrees at Gerald R. Ford International Airport and nearly 2 new inches of snow had fallen, bringing the December snowfall total to 25 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Consumers Energy said power outages can be reported at (800) 477-5050 or online. In addition, Consumers Energy is sharing restoration update estimates at its Facebook page.
Call 2-1-1 for emergency shelter information, authorities said. Emergency shelter details are also available from the American Red Cross online.