More than 300,000 homes and businesses in Michigan, upstate New York and northern New England remained without electricity Monday morning after thick ice felled trees and brought down power lines, according to utilities companies.
Brad Hoving, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan – the state with a bulk of the remaining power outages — said many people may still be using candlelight until Thursday.
The Red Cross set up a shelter at Middleville, Michigan, United Methodist Church, but Pastor Tony Shumaker said the crowd was getting too big and needed additional accommodations like showers, so they would be moving to a local school. Church members planned to cook a Christmas dinner and bring it to the school for people who were still without power on Wednesday.
Tony Shumaker said regardless of the inconvenient timing of lost power, the people housed at the church “seem to be in pretty decent spirits, they’re glad to have a warm place to go to”.
One of Michigan’s power providers, DTE, said crews were working “around the clock” and 90% of the 83,000 customers without electric would be restored by Christmas Eve. However, Consumers Energy said over 200,000 customers were in the dark, and many areas in the southwest portion of Michigan would not be fully restored until after the holiday.
Michigan was hit with half an inch of ice over the weekend.
The storm also saw some 1,200 US flights canceled over the weekend and delayed another 15,000, according to the aviation-tracking website FlightAware.
At least 14 deaths across the US and Canada were blamed on the storm, the AP reported.
Nine of these fatalities came in the US, including five people killed in Kentucky and a woman in Arkansas following a 130-mph tornado.
AAA predicted that a record-breaking 94.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more between December 21st and January 1st.