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Severe storms down trees and power lines across Michigan, killing one person in Lansing

A broken tree branch lies on a car in northern Grand Rapids after a storm swept through the region Thursday night.
Brett Dahlberg
Michigan Radio
A broken tree branch lies on a car in northern Grand Rapids after a storm swept through the region Thursday night.

A Lansing resident has died and more than 370,000 customers in southeast Michigan are without power today after a band of strong, severe thunderstorms raced across West Michigan last night.

Rain and winds in excess of 80 miles an hour downed trees, damaged some homes, and knocked out power. Debris and flooding have caused lane closures on several major highways as well.

Three people died in a traffic crash in Kent County last night, according to the sheriff's office.

Another death occurred along I-96, Ingham County Emergency Management reported, and more people were injured in cars and trucks along the expressway.

The National Weather Service will survey damage in and around Lansing today from two suspected tornadoes in Kent and Ingham Counties.

Grand Rapids Public Schools are closed today due to widespread power outages.

DTE Energy reports more than 187,000 customers are currently without power, and Consumers Energy reports more than 182,000 customers affected by outages.

"Our line workers will be working throughout the day to make repairs," Greg Salisbury, a spokesperson for Consumers Energy, said in a news release.

The company says they've mobilized 1,000 workers to restore power to customers through the weekend.

Consumers Energy included several public safety tips in the release:

  • Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.
  • People should stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines.
  • Keep children and pets away from downed power lines and report the issue by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.

Storms earlier in the week caused widespread flooding in the Detroit area, including tunnels leading to Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the suburb of Romulus yesterday. Officials reopened the airport's McNamara Terminal Thursday afternoon.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center on Thursday.

Caoilinn Goss is the producer for Morning Edition. She started at Michigan Radio during the summer of 2023.