WWJ -- Thousands of DTE Energy customers were still without power Wednesday night after severe thunderstorms moved through metro Detroit Tuesday night.
As of 9 p.m., about 7,600 homes and businesses were still in the dark, DTE said. The severe weather caused extensive tree damage across southeast Michigan on Tuesday, bringing down more than 400 power lines and impacting nearly 80,000 customers. DTE said more than 69,000 customers had power restored -- about 90% of those affected.
Officials said they hoped to restore power across the board before midnight, but the DTE outage map had several locations estimated to be restored by 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The largest remaining outage on the map appeared to be between Detroit and Dearborn, with about 900 customers south of US 12 and east of Central Street still affected.
With temperatures reaching into the mid-to-high 80s on Wednesday, many metro Detroiters were left to sweat it out as they get ready for the 4th of July holiday weekend. DTE apologized for the inconvenience and offered tips for dealing with power outages.
"We understand how difficult it is to be without power during hot temperatures, and we apologize for any inconvenience these outages may cause our customers," the utility said in a statement. "As our crews work to clear damage and restore power to those who are still affected, we ask that our customers look out for – and check up on – family members, neighbors and friends who may be vulnerable during extreme temperatures."
DTE crews are working 16-hour shifts to restore power, the utility said. They will continue to do so, through the holiday, if needed, until power is restored.
In terms of safety, DTE says customers should stay at least 20 feet away from all power lines and anything they’re in contact with, and consider them live. They are extremely dangerous. Treat every downed power line as if it were energized. Customers should also heed the warning of yellow caution tape, which indicates there is a downed power line in the area.
Never use a portable generator inside a home or business. It emits carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Keep it outside, away from windows and doors, so the fumes won’t come in.