DETROIT (AP) — Ted and Angela Montgomery had planned to entertain family and friends this Christmas at their home in Lapeer, north of Detroit. But an ice storm knocked out their lights and heat on Sunday — and it hadn’t been restored by Christmas Eve.
“We’ve just been using our fireplace, using the one in the great room and that’s been keeping it pretty decent,” said 61-year-old Ted Montgomery, who was headed for a shelter in a hotel on Tuesday. “We planned a little family gathering we had to cancel.”
Montgomery was among a half-million utility customers — from Maine to Michigan and into Canada — who lost power in an ice storm last weekend that one utility called the worst during Christmas week in its history. Repair crews were working around the clock to restore service, and they reported good progress Wednesday morning despite more snow rolling into the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest overnight.
So, like Jennings, thousands of people prepared for a holiday at home without electricity or packed up their wrapped gifts and stayed with family or friends.
At his home in central Maine, Doug Jennings had only a propane stove to heat his home — with visitors in town.
“It’s going to be problematic. We’re going to have to do something about it, go to a hotel or whatever,” said Jennings, who lives near Augusta. “But we have Christmas food that’s probably going to be all bad. My wife says ‘I don’t feel like doing the kids’ stockings or anything.'”
The storm also created dangerous driving conditions. Police in Michigan attributed two deaths in a traffic collision Monday to the storm, and a series of crashes involving as many as 40 vehicles during snow squalls on Tuesday shut down the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 east of Cleveland for hours.
Authorities said the storm contributed to the deaths of 14 people across the region, including a 50-year-old man who was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator in Knox, Maine.
The number of customers in Maine without power spiked to more than 100,000 on Tuesday, though the number had dropped to 70,000 by Wednesday morning. Central Maine Power said its goal was to use more than 1,000 workers to restore power for all customers by Thursday night, while other utilities in Maine warned customers they could be without electricity until Friday.
Complicating their efforts, however, are expected wind gusts of about 20 mph in some places, which could bring down more tree limbs.
Across the border in Canada, Toronto officials said 90,000 customers were without power Tuesday — down from 300,000 at the height of the outages.
In Michigan, Jackson-based Consumers Energy — the state’s largest utility — said it hadn’t had this many outages during any Christmas week in its 126-year history. Close to 17 percent of its 1.8 million electric customers lost power during the storm that hit late Saturday; roughly 129,000 remained without it Wednesday morning.
Ken Fuller runs a generator repair shop in Lansing, Mich., where more than 13,000 people were without power a day earlier. He typically closes by noon on Christmas Eve, but at 12:30 p.m. he was cleaning out a broken generator’s carburetor — and had five more waiting to be serviced.
“The temperature outside is 15 to 20 degrees,” Fuller said. “Christmas is going to have to take second fiddle right now because houses are getting cold, freezing water pipes.”
That was the concern that John Potbury and his family faced outside Flint. They lost electricity at 6 a.m. Sunday and have been living in a single bedroom warmed by generator-powered space heaters. The lights on their tree, of course were dark.
“Even though the house is freezing cold, the freezer items were starting to thaw out,” Potbury said.
But Potbury’s kids, 8-year-old Jacob and 5-year-old Jackson, kept things in perspective, telling their dad Tuesday that “Santa runs on reindeer power, not electricity, so he should be OK.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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