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Temperatures Rise, Ice Melts, While Thousands Remain Without Power

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WEST MICHIGAN — As temperatures rise, ice from this past weekend’s ice storm begins to melt.

Laurie Savastano lives in Byron Center. She said she heard a crackling noise coming from her front yard and then noticed the ice pellets falling steadily.

“Just the intensity of it coming down off the trees [got her attention]. It was like a hail storm out here,” Savastano described.

“We didn’t even dare to park our cars here in the driveway,” she added.

Anyone experiencing this in their yard should exercise precaution. Melting ice, especially large icicles, can present a danger. This, however, is the least of concerns for the thousands of Michigan residents that remain without power.

Barry County was hit the worst by the ice storm. The state’s emergency management division said four counties and one township have declared a local state of emergency. Barry, Clinton, Eaton and Shiawassee Counties are among them. Delta Township, in Eaton County, also made the declaration.

During a teleconference, a spokesperson for Governor Rick Snyder said he receives several daily briefings regarding what’s happening on the ground.

“We are very appreciative that crews that have come from out of state, in addition to the crews based here in Michigan, who have spent there holiday time away from their families working around the clock to restore power to many of our residents,” Dave Murray, Snyder’s deputy press secretary said.

However, state officials said the declarations have only been made locally. That means “no formal request for the governor’s declaration and no formal request for state assistance has been submitted by any local government.”

Captain Chris Kelenske with the Michigan State Police said the state’s emergency management division is in communication with each affected county (and township). Kelenske also briefed the media and took questions during the teleconference.

“It’s important to remember the goal of disaster assistance is not to make individuals, businesses or government entities whole again, but to restore the community to a level that meets expected health and safety considerations,” Kelenske said.

Consumers Energy expects to have power restored in Barry County completely by Saturday night.

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