By Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan utilities are bracing for extremely strong winds, a year after a storm put thousands of people in the dark at Christmas.

DTE Energy spokeswoman Randi Berris says crews are on standby Wednesday in case weather forecasters are right in predicting gusts of 45 mph or higher in southeastern Michigan. Consumers Energy says it also will be ready.

The National Weather Service says the strongest winds will occur at night and last until nearly dawn on Christmas.

A year ago at Christmas, hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan were in the middle of a multi-day blackout because an ice storm snapped tree branches and power lines.

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