Severe Storms Topple Trees, Cut Power in Michigan and Illinois

August 12, 2021

More than 170,000 homes and businesses in western and northern parts of Michigan’s lower peninsula and 90,000 homes in the Chicago area remained without power Wednesday morning after severe overnight thunderstorms damaged power lines.

In Michigan, wind gusts reached about 70 mph in some areas, including Dorr area south of Grand Rapids, toppling trees, limbs and power lines. Winds of between 30 and 50 mph were reported across a larger area.

Consumers Energy reported nearly 170,000 of its customers without power as of 11 a.m., while Great Lakes Energy said it had about 16,000 customers in the dark.

Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations, Guy Packard, said in a news release that “Mother Nature delivered a powerful punch to Michigan” during the overnight storms.

He said the utility’s crews would be “working around the clock this week to turn the lights back on for everyone who was affected by this devastating storm” but urged customers to be patient, noting that additional storms are possible Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids forecasts that more thunderstorms reaching “severe intensity” could hit the state Wednesday night into Thursday morning ahead an approaching area of cooler, less humid air

In Illinois, severe overnight thunderstorms struck one day after at least seven tornadoes touched down in the northern part of the state.

As of 7 a.m. CDT, about 96,000 Commonwealth Edison customers remained without power, with most of those in Cook, Lake, McHenry and Kane counties after a Tuesday storm raked the area with wind gusts of up to 70 mph (113 kilometers per hour), according to the utility.

Residents in Evanston and Plainfield reported extensive tree damage, while about 6,000 customers lost power in Evanston, where there reports of malfunctioning street lights, traffic signals and street flooding, National Weather Service meteorologist Ricky Castro told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The weather service said a survey crew had confirmed Tuesday that at least seven tornadoes touched down Monday in northern Illinois, with three of those storms given preliminary ratings as EF-1 tornadoes, which produce winds between 86-110 mph (138-177 kph).

Three of the other tornadoes were weaker and the strength of the seventh storm had not yet been determined, according to the weather service, which said Monday’s storms damaged trees and some structures in portions of Ogle, DeKalb, and Kane Counties.

A heat advisory remains in effect across north-central Illinois, northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana until Wednesday night, when the weather service said more severe weather is possible in that region.

About the photo: Tornado damage is seen, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, after a storm ripped a large portion of the roof off of Greg and Laurie Kamieciak’s home in Burlington, Ill., the day before. (Rick West/Daily Herald via AP)

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