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Strong winds cause power outages, downed trees

Elkhart County continues under a winter storm warning.


Posted on Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 21, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Indiana and Michigan Power crews are working to restore power to more than 17,000 customers in the Michigan and Indiana area after strong winds downed power lines Thursday night and Friday morning.

According to a press release, about 13,000 of the 17,000 customers without power are in southwestern Michigan, with about 3,700 others in the northwestern Indiana area. Less than 200 are without power in northeast Indiana and more than 200 in east central Indiana await restoration. A map with the areas affected is shown on their website.

Indiana and Michigan Power has listed their estimated times of restoration for their customers:

Ÿ Three Rivers, Mich., area: 10 p.m. Friday

Ÿ Benton Harbor area: 6 p.m. Sunday

Ÿ Buchanan and New Buffalo areas: noon Sunday

Ÿ South Bend area: 8 p.m. Saturday

Ÿ Elkhart area: 8 p.m. Friday

Ÿ Fort Wayne area: midnight Friday

Ÿ Muncie area: 6 p.m. Friday

UPDATE 12 p.m.: Midwest Energy Cooperative announced that 3,500 customers are without power across southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. Two substations are also without power, affecting customers in Dowagiac and Marcellus. Niles, White Pigeon, Lawton and Bristol (Ind.) have been impacted the most. Crews will continue to work until service is fully restored.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: The National Weather Service canceled a winter storm warning for Elkhart County and surrounding areas this morning, Dec. 21. A winter weather advisory is now in effect until 7 p.m.

However, winds will remain strong, with gusts reaching 50 MPH. Snow is expected to continue today with total accumulations of one to three inches by this evening. The strong winds will cause some blowing snow and reduced visibilities, said the NWS.

Drivers are still advised to be cautious as travel may become hazardous at times, especially in open areas. Minor wind damage and some power outages are also possible throughout the day.

This morning there were several reports of power outages and downed trees because of strong winds. A few property damage accidents were reported in Elkhart County, which may or may not have been caused by the snow or winds.

ORIGINAL STORY:

ELKHART — A winter snow warning continues in effect for the Elkhart County area this morning, Dec. 21 until 7 p.m., and though the expected snow was delayed a few hours, the heavy winds have already caused damage across the area.

According to the Elkhart City Dispatch, several calls have reported downed trees throughout the city. Indiana Michigan Power and NIPSCO also reported some power outages across the county. Midwest Energy Cooperative reports 2,500 outages throughout southwest Michigan, including Marcellus, Edwardsburg, Dowagiac and Cassopolis.

According to the National Weather Service, a powerful storm is moving across Northern Indiana, and it is expected for the snow to increase in the morning hours, “becoming moderate to heavy at times toward daybreak.”

The NWS expects snowfall accumulations of three to five inches, some higher accumulations in local areas, by Friday evening.

Winds of 60 MPH are expected in some areas as well, said the NWS. The snow and strong winds will result in significantly reduced visibility, nearing white-out conditions in open areas.



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