The recent ice storm that swept through southeast Michigan has left more than 500,000 homes without power as of early Friday morning. In Ann Arbor, more than 25,000 households powered by DTE faced power outages following a major ice storm that hit the area Wednesday night.
According to DTE, the number of reported outages across southeast Michigan shot up by more than 200% from 125,000 to nearly 370,000 between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Wednesday, marking the biggest uptick in reports since the beginning of the storm.
DTE currently estimates that they will be able to restore power for 95% of customers across Michigan by Sunday, Feb. 26.
Schools, restaurants and businesses were also affected by the power outages. Ann Arbor Public Schools closed Wednesday and Thursday and announced plans to shut down for a third day Friday due to power outages and dangerous road conditions.
Though it is the University of Michigan’s policy to remain open at all times, U-M Information and Technology Services reported that several buildings on Central Campus and North Campus were affected by the power outage, including the Stearns Building and the Ross Athletic Campus. A high-voltage fuse also blew at the Michigan Academic Computing Center, which is located south of Central Campus, on Wednesday due to the storm. The Ann Arbor Fire Department responded and found no fire, however, the MACC is still without power and is currently running on generators.
Rackham student Shariq Bokhari lost power on Wednesday and was still in the dark as of Thursday night. He said power outages can make completing online school work and day-to-day tasks more challenging.
“It’s a difficult situation for everyone,” Bokhari said. “It’s just a pretty frightening scenario so hopefully (the power) will be back on soon. It’s definitely going to cause a lot of inconvenience for people … Personally, our fridge is no longer working so food is going to get spoiled.”
Parth Vaishnav, assistant professor of sustainable systems at the School for Environment and Sustainability, told Michigan News that he lost power during the storm and is using his electric vehicle’s battery to power his fridge and lights.
“We’re using our EV battery to run the fridge and a couple of lights in the house,” Vaishnav said. “About half the battery’s capacity should allow us to run that level of load for about a week.”
The city of Ann Arbor opened three overnight warming centers in response to the widespread power outage. Residents can escape the winter chill during certain hours at the Lord of Light Lutheran Church, Northside Community Center and Ann Arbor District Library: Westgate Branch.
Daily Staff Reporter Shao Hsuan Wu can be reached at email@example.com.