Michigan storms leave over 340,000 people without power, kill teenager

·2-min read
Fallen tree limbs are cleared after thunderstorms and high winds downed power lines and closed roads in Holland

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents were without electricity on Tuesday after powerful storms toppled trees and downed thousands of power lines in the state a day earlier, including one that electrocuted a 14-year-old girl.

More than 340,000 customers remained without power, utility companies said at around 5 pm ET (9 pm GMT) on Tuesday.

Dozens of schools across southeastern Michigan, including nearly two dozen in Detroit alone, canceled classes on Tuesday because of the outages, officials and The Detroit News said.

In Monroe, about 40 miles south of Detroit, a 14-year-old girl was electrocuted late on Monday when she came in contact with an electrical line that fell during the storm outside her home, police said.

The girl was walking with a friend in her backyard when she grabbed what she thought was a stick, but it was actually a charged power line, officials said in a statement. When first responders arrived, they found her still in contact with the energized wire. She later succumbed to her injuries.

A line of storms bringing heavy rain also hit parts of Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Texas and Ohio late on Monday.

In Ohio, a woman was killed by a tree that fell during the storm, fire officials said.

An 11-year-old boy died after falling and being swept into a storm drain during a flash flood in northwest Arkansas on Monday evening, according to officials there.

In Texas' Nolan County, one person was killed when severe winds caused a tanker truck to roll over, causing at least six accidents, officials said.

Back in Michigan, DTE Energy said gusts of 70 miles per hour (113 km per hour) downed more than 3,300 power lines. The utility was bringing in crews from across the country to make repairs. It expected to restore power to 80% of its affected customers, more than 250,000, by late Thursday.

Consumers Energy said it had seen outages in nearly half of Michigan's counties, with more than 90,000 customers still affected as of 5 pm ET on Tuesday.

Clear weather on Tuesday was expected to facilitate repair work to the downed lines, the utility companies said, adding that crews had worked through the night to restore power after the storms felled trees and power lines.

Consumers Energy also said that its crews overnight restored power to about 40,000 customers.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Frank McGurty and Bernadette Baum)