Deadly Storms Cut Power to Over 450,000

By Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker is a former reporter and editor with The Epoch Times.
September 8, 2014 Updated: September 8, 2014

It could be several days before power is fully restored to homes and businesses in Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois after weekend storms with 75 mph winds left hundreds of thousands in the dark and killed two. In Chicago, well-known theater actress Molly Glynn, 46, was struck by a falling tree Friday and killed while she was riding her bike. In addition to her work on stage, Glynn had a recurring role on the TV series “Chicago Fire” as a doctor.

The executive director of First Folio Theatre and a close family friend, David Rice, said Sunday that the storm took Glynn and her husband by surprise.

“Molly was one of the most loving and generous people in the Chicago theater scene,” he said. “She was incredibly talented—incredibly versatile. She could handle both comedy and the deepest darkest dramas.”

“It was a freak accident and a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he added.

A 42-year-old suburban Detroit-area man was also killed in the storms that swept across several states with lightning and high winds, downing trees and power lines.

Michigan Hit Hard

Michigan was among the hardest areas hit, and at least 98,000 customers were still without power Monday morning, down from 375,000. According to area provider DTE Energy, 75 mph wind gusts downed over 2,000 power lines across its service area in one of the worst storms in the company’s history.

Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands were left without power throughout the weekend as energy company crews scrambled to repair damage. 

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest electric and natural gas utility, said on Friday night they had over 72,000 customers without power. They also said many power lines were down due to high winds. By Sunday night, with help from out of state crews, they had restored power to all but 5,000 customers.

There were also several thousand customers without power in Indiana as of Monday morning.

In Illinois, power provider Commonwealth Edison reported that the Friday afternoon storms knocked out power lines and electrical service to almost 173,000 customers. By Sunday night, the company said that 99 percent of power had been restored and that there were 670 crews working. 

It could be several days until power is fully restored to all customers.

In Michigan, some businesses got by using backup power generators, such as a Walgreens pharmacy in suburban Michigan. 

“We’re open because the generators are running now, but they also shut down for a while until they came back on,” assistant store manager Jason Einkelmeyer told The Detroit News. “We’ve got customers in the store, but we’ve had to close a bit earlier because we’re a 24-hour store.”

Grateful 

In another Detroit suburb, a pizza shop that didn’t lose power saw a boon in business because of the extreme weather. The Detroit News reported that shop’s power flickered briefly, then continued to operate full force throughout Friday as others lost power. 

There were about 2,500 people nearby the pizza shop in the dark, which meant dozens more customers than they normally see on Friday night. The influx of customers continued into Saturday.

“It’s been great for business,” said Evan Sirena, a manager at the Westland Happy’s Pizza. “We made $600 more this past Friday than we do on an average Friday. And Saturday business was pretty good, too. People were grateful we were open.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Genevieve Belmaker is a former reporter and editor with The Epoch Times.