2017-03-16 / News

Winter winds wreak havoc

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com


Courtesy photos Courtesy photos GAINES TOWNSHIP – A Swartz Creek area couple escaped serious harm when last week’s heavy winds toppled a large tree onto their vehicle.

The incident occurred about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, on South Morrish Road near Reid Road.

The Gaines Township Police Department, Gaines Township Fire Department and Swartz Ambulance responded to the scene where the tree had fallen onto the windshield of a car occupied by a man and woman, both 26, according to police Chief Mark Schmitzer.

The victims were treated on scene for injuries suffered to their faces and arms, Schmitzer said. They were then transported to Hurley Medical Center for further treatment.

Wind velocity was estimated at 50 to 60 miles per hour at the time, the chief said.

“It is only with luck that this couple was not injured any more than they were,” Schmitzer said.

Genesee County 911 dispatchers received 2,379 calls for service from 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, to 7 a.m. Thursday, March 9, according to 911 operations manager David J. Plumb.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., dispatchers answered 1,839 calls, including 1,500 for police, 246 for fire services and 142 emergency medical calls.

“Our call volume began to increase between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. when we went from 43 calls per hour to 126 calls per hour,” Plumb reported.

The busiest hour was 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., when operators handled 236 calls.

According to the National Weather Service, top wind speeds in Flint hit 61 miles per hour just at 4:38 p.m. Top winds of 68 miles per hour were recorded in both Saginaw and Metro Detroit, according to NWS data.

Sustained and gusting winds felled trees, knocked over portable basketball hoops, sent trampolines sailing and snapped power lines.

In the Gaines and Swartz Creek areas, several homes were without power through the weekend as 3,400 power company employees worked round-the-clock into Monday, March 13, to restore service to the 355,000 customers statewide. Consumers called in extra crews from Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa.

DTE reported 700,000 customers without service at the height of the storm.

Consumers Energy also indicated the storm took down more than 9,000 electric wires and snapped more than 1,300 poles across its territory.

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