Andrew Powers, an arborist with Asplundh Tree Experts, clears iced branches from power lines along Mayflower Heights Drive in Waterville, Maine, on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.(AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, Michael G. Seamans)
(USA TODAY) -- Frigid temperatures offered no respite from the ice pulling down
utility poles and power lines across Michigan and the northeastern USA,
and tens of thousands remained without electricity days after an ice
storm barreled through.
Twenty-seven deaths have been
blamed on the storm and cold, with 17 in the USA and 10 in Canada. Among
those in Canada, seven were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning
from people using generators or barbecues to stay warm after losing
power and heat.
Bangor Hydro Electric in Maine is
advising people it will be the end of the day Friday before it's more
than 11,000 customers all are back on line, the Associated Press
reported. The number has fluctuated as some people get power back while
others lose it. The utility said downed trees are the biggest problem
facing line crews.
Worst hit was Michigan, where more than 139,000
homes remained without power Wednesday afternoon. At its peak, the
storm last Saturday affected more than 500,000 home and businesses in
Light snow was expected in Michigan, and a few inches of
accumulation was expected to add to problems in Maine and New
Hampshire, said Brian Wimer of AccuWeather.com.
temperatures were expected to continue. "When it's this cold, it's not
going to melt (ice) much and also it's cloudy, so there's not much sun
to help out," Wimer said.
But he said dry weather should continue
through Friday and Saturday in areas hit by power outages with
temperatures inching above freezing.
"This is our largest
Christmas-week storm in our 126-year history, and it's our largest ice
storm in the last 10 years," Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd
said. The company provides electricity to most of lower Michigan. "We
are working as hard as we can to get people back on. We recognize that
this is a terrible time for this to happen."
what's happening is, because the temperatures are remaining below
freezing, the ice is not melting," Dodd said. "Things are continuing to
In Flint, Mich., the American Red Cross set up a warming shelter and a mobile food truck provided meals.
we're recommending is, if they don't have a relative they can stay
with, that they call 211," Dodd said. "That puts them in contact with
their nearest United Way agency."
In East Lansing, Terry Brock, from Richmond, Va., was visiting his parents when the ice storm struck.
was basically up all night listening to transformers blow up and
listening to branches fall all over the neighborhood," he said.
"There's no one to be angry at so I'm not going to be," said Brock, whose car was damaged by a falling limb.
Maine, more than 30,000 people still remained without power late
Wednesday. Gov. Paul LePage, who declared a state of emergency before
the storm arrived, urged residents to check on their neighbors,
according to the Associated Press.
Temperatures across the state
remained in the single digits and from 2 to 6 inches of snow could fall
in parts of Maine on Thursday.
"We've had two beautiful, sunny
days in Maine and the ice isn't going anyplace," said Lynette Miller,
spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency. "They're very
concerned about more weight coming down on trees that are already
compromised by ice."
Power was knocked out to downtown Ellsworth, Maine, which declared a state of emergency.
conditions are becoming life-threatening with icy conditions paired
with downed power lines and fallen trees," the town said in a statement.
"Especially after sunset, it will become difficult to see the downed
power lines and trees, contributing to even more hazardous conditions."