Storm causes extensive damage, power outages in Lake County

LAKE COUNTY — Many local area residents woke up Wednesday morning to find their electricity out, and trees crashed down in yards and in roadways — the aftermath of an intense wind storm Tuesday night which caused damage throughout much of the area.

Gusts of winds from 30-50 mph, and up to 70 mph in spots, caused trees to topple on electric lines and in roadways, making it a tiring week for utility workers, road commission workers and fire crews who worked around the clock to unblock roads and restore power.

Hot and humid weather complicated matters even worse for the thousands in Michigan who were without power, leaving limited options for cooling down. Thanks to communities lending a hand, people were able to utilize cooling stations and get fresh water, such as was offered at Pleasant Plains Township Hall and fire station.

Baldwin Community Schools, scheduled to begin the school year on Aug. 11, delayed opening until Aug. 13, due to power outages and blocked roadways.

Al Dailey, fire chief for Webber Township Fire Department, and who serves on the Lake County Road Commission, saw a large extent of the damage in the county.

"I was on call that night when the storm came, and put in a 19-hour day," he said. "The fire department gets called anytime a tree is on a powerline. We roped a lot of the areas off until the electricians came out. We also team up with the road commission to cut up what trees we can and help get roads opened up. A good effort is put forth."

From assisting in cleanup, Dailey estimates Webber Township and the Idlewild area took the hardest hit from damaging winds.

The storm damage did bring back memories of the Aug. 28, 2018 tornadoes which swept through the Baldwin and Idlewild area.

"This storm wasn't as severe as the tornadoes — we had a good week and a half opening things up during that time — but its up there, with so many trees down and a lot of roads blocked."

According to Jeremy Anderson, deputy chief for Webber Fire Department, the department got about 30 calls. Anderson worked through Wednesday until 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, relieving another firefighter who worked all of Tuesday night.

Area residents were prepared for another round of storms Wednesday night, and although many observed the sky turning an odd color Wednesday evening, such as common in skies before tornado-like weather hits, nothing came of it.

Power was restored to most residents by Sunday. Aug. 15, leaving some without power for five days.