Storms leave about 178,000 without electricity

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JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - A wave of severe thunderstorms blew across the southern half of Michigan, flooding streets, knocking out electrical service to at least 178,000 homes and businesses and shutting down part of Interstate 75 for several hours because of fallen power lines, authorities said Sunday.

The storms that hit Saturday afternoon blacked out 110,000 customers of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp., and 68,000 were offline Sunday evening. DTE Energy Co. spokesman Scott Simons said 41,000 of its 68,000 affected customers in metropolitan Detroit were powerless Sunday evening.

Power lines downed by the storm led to the closing of Interstate 75 in both directions in Genesee County, southeast of Flint. Most traffic was restored by Sunday evening, The Flint Journal said.

The storm blew part of the roof off the gym at Kent City High School, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

“I doubt it will be usable the rest of the school year,” said Dale Larson, owner of Northwest Kent Mechanical Co., which does service work at the school. “It will need a total new roof.”

Elliana Sheren, 6, cleans up the remains of a play house on Sunday, April 13, 2014 in the Swartz Creek, Mich.,  area after a severe storm passed through south Genesee County Saturday.   A wave of severe thunderstorms has blown across the southern half of Michigan, knocking out power to at least 174,000 homes and businesses and shutting down parts of two interstate highways because of fallen power lines.  (AP Photo/The Flint Journal, Samuel Wilson ) LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT

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Elliana Sheren, 6, cleans up the remains of a play house on ... more >

Larson and about 30 other school board members, administrators, teachers and other volunteers were working to clean up debris Sunday.

Kazelyn Goss said she huddled in a closet with her dog and cat after hearing the wind start to roar Saturday evening at her home in Genesee County, outside Flint.

“It just sounded like a plane was on top of my house,” she said. “I turned back and I could see outside. I didn’t know the roof was in the front yard. I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz.”

The National Weather Service reported roads flooded in Big Rapids and in Montcalm, Mason and Muskegon counties. It warned of more flooding with fresh rain this week.

“Every spring we face this,” Muskegon County Emergency Services Director Dan Stout told the Muskegon Chronicle. “Last year we had some culverts washed out and that may very well could happen again. Then we would have a mess here.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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