We’ve all probably experienced a period of time with no electricity, and there’s nothing like a few minutes of life in the dark ages to appreciate all the benefits of electricity. Electricity heats our homes, provides the warmth and security of lights, and powers our electronic gadgets. Electricity keeps our cities and our lives humming.

You can’t stop a looming cold front, but you can prepare for power outages with a portable generator to keep your home warm and bright. Learn about a few memorable weather events that shut down power in Michigan. With these weather events in mind, you can make a plan and be prepared for anything.

The Great Blizzard of 1999

The year 1999 was ushered in with a blizzard event that started January 2 and ended two days later. Record snowfall blanketed the Midwest and parts of Canada, with Rochester and Mount Clemens measuring over a foot of snow. As a result of incredible snow accumulation, roads and highways were blocked, airports shut down, flights cancelled, and businesses and schools closed.

Unfortunately, power outages from snow and ice left people without heat, and many had to seek shelter in schools powered by generators. As a result of the storm, losses were estimated at $300 to $400 million.

Bomb Cyclone of 2019

In February 2019 residents of Michigan experienced a bomb cyclone. The National Weather Service has a special term to describe the rapid intensification of a cyclone, or low pressure area. Pressure falls so rapidly — at least 24 millibars in 24 hours — that the storm seems to suddenly hit like a bomb.

The bomb cyclone hit northern Michigan especially hard with winds up to 50 mph, which brought down power lines and closed roads. Included in part of the mix were small amount of snow and rain, which caused whiteout conditions and quarter-mile visibility in addition to strong winds.

By 9 pm on Sunday, February 24, around 108,000 customers in southeast Michigan had no power as a result of over 500 downed electrical lines.

Ice Storm in 2003

According to the Midland Daily News, April in 2003 saw a massive storm that dumped rain and freezing rain on parts of southeast Michigan.  Freezing rain caused ice to build up on roads, homes, cars, trees, and power lines. Ice buildup was between a quarter-inch to two inches thick in some areas.

Ice is incredibly heavy, capable of breaking tree branches and felling entire trees. Electrical lines are vulnerable to falling trees as well as heavy ice accumulation. Cold temperature allowed ice to linger for four days. Sadly, nearly a half-million customers were without power. Some unfortunate residents had no electricity for a week.

Summer Storm in 2019

Not all weather events that down power lines occur due to snow and ice during cold winter months. Summer storms with lightening, hail, and strong winds are just as capable of shutting down electrical power.

Late July of this year witnessed a summer storm across the middle of the state that downed 2,600 power lines, according to the Detroit Free Press. As a result, about 121,000 customers had no power. While people don’t worry about freezing temperatures in July, you still need electricity to run life-saving medical devices and keep food in refrigerators and freezers cold.

If you remember these recent weather events in Michigan, consider how downed power lines impact you and your family. Electrical loss can leave you in the cold, ruin food, disrupt your life, and more.

Call Oak Electric for information about our generators and how they can change the way your family faces power outages.