Hundreds of thousands lose power in storms

/ Source: The Associated Press

Severe thunderstorms swept across parts of Michigan, flooding streets and cutting power to hundreds of thousands of residents.

Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. said about 162,000 of its customers had no electricity as of Thursday morning, and service in some rural and hard-hit areas was not expected to be restored until Saturday.

A customer is considered a home or business, so the total number of people affected is several times greater than the total number of customers.

In the Detroit area, DTE Energy Co. said about 30,000 of its customers were without power. Water on freeways also disrupted the morning rush hour commute.

A lightning strike apparently sparked a structure fire in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, injuring a firefighter, but not seriously.

Rainfall of 5 inches was reported in the Grand Rapids area, and police were dispatched to help motorists whose cars had stalled in flooded streets, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The storm system also brought heavy rain late Wednesday and early Thursday to parts of Ohio, including Toledo, were 3½ inches fell.

A rotating funnel cloud was spotted west of Toledo, but National Weather Service meteorologist Karen Oudeman said no tornado touchdowns were reported. Flooding closed a portion of Interstate 475 in the area for several hours early Thursday.

About 3,000 customers lost power, Toledo Edison said, but most were back up by Thursday morning.

To the west, authorities said a tornado damaged some farm buildings late Wednesday in Iowa’s Benton County, but no one was hurt.