Half a million homes and businesses were without power in southern Michigan Friday night after an ice storm ripped through the region and authorities warned power may not return for many until Sunday.
On the other side of the country, forecasters said a storm would drench Southern California and batter the higher elevations with blizzard conditions and heavy snow.
Flooding, downed trees and damaged power lines are likely through Saturday morning as the storm moves through the state, the National Weather Service said.
In Michigan, about 500,000 utility customers were in the dark Friday, with outages reported from Lake Michigan to Lake Erie, according to Poweroutage.us. In much of the region, temperatures are expected to drop to 20 degrees overnight and dip into the 10s with wind chill, the National Weather Service said.
Light snow was expected in much of the area, the agency said.
In Lansing, city officials began a «code blue» cold weather response plan, with libraries, community centers and other buildings repurposed as warming centers. In Lenawee County, county officials also opened warming centers and the Red Cross was operating a 24-hour shelter.
civil servants said Kalamazoo residents should prevent pipes from freezing by opening cabinets around their pipes and letting a pencil lead-sized stream of water run from a faucet if the temperature inside plummets below 32 degrees.
In Jackson, south of Lansing, resident George Ellis was outside cooking on a gas grill while a generator provided enough power to run a refrigerator and heater. NBC affiliate WILX of Lansing reported.
When the station asked him how he and his wife were doing, he replied with one word: cold.
Garrick Rochow, CEO of the state’s largest utility, Consumers Energy, said friday that most of the company’s customers would see their power restored on Sunday. Rochow described the utility’s response as «all hands on deck,» saying 540 crews were working across the state.
Detroit-based DTE Energy President Trevor Lauer estimated that 95% of that utility’s homes and businesses will also have power by Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, Lauer described the major winter storm that hit the area as «historic» and likened the quarter-inch of ice that fell on the electrical system to a «baby grand piano hanging from those wires.»
Warm weather is forecast to return this weekend, with temperatures expected to top 40 degrees on Sunday.
In California, Millions of people were under weather alerts when a major winter storm hit the state with snow, rain, and freezing temperatures.
San Francisco saw its lowest temperature ever recorded Friday: 39 degrees, while parts of Northern California that rarely see snow reported several inches or more between Thursday and Friday, according to the weather service.
In southern California, the first blizzard warning issued by the San Diego office of the National Weather Service It was in force until Saturday afternoon. The same advisory was issued for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties for the first time since 1989, the weather service said.
As of 5:23 p.m. local time, between 3 and 6 inches of rain had fallen in parts of Santa Barbara and southern Ventura counties, with more rain forecast and flash floods described as imminent.
Flash flood warnings were in effect for southern Ventura County until 1 a.m. and Los Angeles County until 2 a.m., according to the meteorologic service.
As of 11 p.m., 85,000 people lost power in the state, according to poweroutage.us.
The storm is expected to reach the Central High Plains on Sunday night, the weather service said.