Ice storm causes power outages, damage across county


Updated 2:44 p.m., April 12

            ARENAC COUNTY — Freezing rain and wind gusts Thursday, April 11 leading into a National Weather Advisory for an ice storm overnight has caused power outages and damaged trees throughout Arenac County.

            According to a Consumers Energy power outage map, large swaths of the county have reported outages, with the heaviest reports coming from Sims Township, Sterling, and Clayton Township. Much of the county has reported outages, however, including the cities of Standish, Au Gres, and Omer as well as the villages of Sterling and Twining.

            Deborah Dodd, media relations with Consumers Energy, said Arenac County and the surrounding areas were among the areas of Michigan hardest hit by the storm. About 6,978 people are without power in the county, she said.

            “There was a lot of freezing rain and a lot of limbs broken bringing wires down,” Dodd said. “We’ve got a full complement of crews there. We sent crews from the west side of the state to send them there. They’re obviously working in some treacherous conditions.”

            Dodd said that Consumers has work crews assigned to get power restored to Arenac County, and expects service should be back from Pinconning to the Standish Township area by 6 p.m. Saturday at the latest. From Arenac and Mason townships, Omer and Twining to Au Gres, Sims, and Whitney townships, power is expected to be restored by 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the latest.

            “We like to encourage people to keep away from downed power lines,” Dodd said. “Keep kids and animals away. If you’re removing tree limbs from your yard, make sure there’s no electrical line tangled in there. We always caution people about that as well.”

            Most areas which lost power reported it Thursday evening. The Consumers outage map can be found at

            Arenac County Emergency Coordinator Ed Rohn said the road commission also has had trucks out since Thursday night to clear roads and the shoulders so they are passable for motorists.

            “Lots of broken trees and power poles, and lines are down,” Rohn said. “The rain and the drop in temperature, coupled with the wind, was freezing (ice) around the wires and branches, and created a tremendous amount of weight they couldn’t support.”

            Arenac County Undersheriff Don McIntyre said the sheriff’s department was running on backup generators as of Friday morning, but are otherwise are operating normally. He said they had received calls overnight about people sliding off the road, but did not had any accident calls Friday morning.

            “The fire departments have been out all night for downed trees,” McIntyre said. “To our knowledge, we haven’t heard of anyone injured from falling trees.”

            Rohn said he had been in contact with the fire departments overnight as they kept roads clear after conditions deteriorated Thursday night.

            He added with the estimated power restoration time for most areas is not until the weekend, residents could see a day or two of “toughing it out” without electricity.

Check back for updates to this story.

See table below for a breakdown of the outages in Arenac County and others, as of 1:30 p.m. Friday, courtesy of Consumers Energy. 


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