Several Great Lakes states experienced strong winds of 60 mph in some areas fanning a fire which killed five people and injured four others in a Detroit apartment building.
High winds wreaking havoc:
On Wednesday afternoon, strong winds pushed a commuter jet during takeoff off a runway at the Willow Run Airport runway in Ypsilanti, it was carrying members of the University of Michigan basketball team. None of the team members were hurt. Tom Wywrot, team spokesman, stated in an email that the takeoff was aborted after strong braking and that the plane sustained extensive damage.
In Ohio, a semitrailer rolled over on a bridge. While due to high-voltage power lines falling on tracks, commuter trains were stopped in East Chicago, Indiana. In Michigan some school roofs were swept away
Wednesday night, utilities in Michigan said that more than 800,000 customers lost electrical service.
Vice president of energy operations for one of those utilities, Consumers Energy, Guy Packard, said that they have crews working around the clock in difficult weather conditions. “With the rough weather continuing, we expect this to be a multi-day restoration effort,” he added.
The cause of the Detroit apartment fire is still not clear. Firefighters worked hard to put out the fire blazing through the windows of the two-story building on the city’s east side on Wednesday afternoon.
The windy conditions caused several problems which led to “an abnormally high volume” of 911 calls to the city’s communications operations according to Detroit officials.
A fire started after power lines were knocked down in St. Clair County’s Kimball Township in Michigan which led to nearby homes to be evacuated.
Roofs blowing off:
In Barry County’s Woodland Township, southeast of Grand Rapids, winds away blew part of an early childhood center’s roof, which led to busing more than 180 students to a nearby high school. Part of the roof at Birch Run High School, southeast of Saginaw, also was blown away but the school was not evacuated.
David Bush, schools Superintendent said regarding Birch Run High School: “We’ve got heavy winds today and some of the roofing material above the auxiliary gym started coming off and, as a result, we shut down that area and got some maintenance workers to assess the situation.”
On Wednesday, in Toledo, The Veterans’ Glass City Skyway was closed after the Ohio Department of Transportation posted a video showing a semitrailer toppling over after crossing the bridge. Traffic was later stopped from crossing the bridge on Interstate 280.
Power lines fell on the South Shore tracks in East Chicago which led the district to hold trains at their originating stations, according to John Parsons, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District spokesman.