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Hurricane felt locally; former local residents impacted on East Coast



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Donal Lennox fills gas cans for his home generator in Goodrich on Oct. 30. His home was without power after effects from Hurricane Sandy were felt locally. (click for larger version)
October 31, 2012 - Donald Lennox, has lived on Green Road in Hadley Township for about 12 years and power outages are fairly routine.

"If it looks like the wind is going to blow, we get ready to be without power," said Lennox, who on Tuesday was in Goodrich getting gasoline for his new generator he purchased. "Winter, summer, it does not matter— we lose power out there. Contractors have been cutting branches over the last few months, but it still goes out. It really was cold last night, too. We have a propane gas fireplace, but it's still cold."

Lennox was one of thousands locally that felt the impact of Hurricane Sandy. According to the National Weather Service, the storm made landfall on the New Jersey coast Monday night and moved west bringing high winds, colder weather and rain to southeastern Michigan. A wind advisory and lakeshore flood warning was issued from noon Monday to 5 p.m. Tuesday, with wind gusts up to 50 mph.

A combination of strong winds and some icing on power lines caused outages locally.

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Len Singer, a spokesman for DTE Energy which serves 2.1 million electric users in southeastern Michigan, said about 120,000 DTE customers lost power during the two-day storm.

"On Tuesday afternoon we had about 700 customers without power in the Ortonville-Goodrich area," he said. "On Sunday (Oct. 27), two days before the storm we released 100 of our contracted linemen to the East Coast. The linemen went to various locations along the East Coast where (Hurricane) Sandy was going to come on shore. We did not send any DTE employees out there—they were working on the local lines."

Contracted linemen supplement DTE employees for repair and maintenance of the power lines, added Singer.

"We have a mutual assistance policy with other utility companies," he added. "There were seven million without power on the East Coast, here in southeast Michigan that number was about 60,000—they reached out to us for help."

"The contracted linemen going east could have some impact toward the end of the restoration process," said Singer. "However, keep in mind we are also reaching out to other utilities. We are also getting some linemen in from Wisconsin. The farther west from the East Coast the less impact is felt from the hurricane."

Catherine Brosseau, a 1992 Brandon High School graduate, along with her husband Randy, a Goodrich High School graduate, and their two children, Raegan and Jack, live in a high-rise building on the Hudson River in West New York, NJ.

Brosseau, a senior producer for Erin Burnett, OutFront a CNN news show, has lived in the New York area for several years.

"The police came by on Sunday and announced a mandatory evacuation," said Brosseau, from her office in the Time Warner Center, near Central Park. "Many of our neighbors left before the storm hit. Also on Sunday, the buses stopped running and the subways, too, that run into New York. But we stayed in our home. Randy covered the windows with boards."

"In August 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast we evacuated to Pennsylvania, about an hour away. The drive inland was more dangerous then waiting the storm out here in New Jersey. There were traffic jams, trees over the roadway and powerlines down. I don't know where all the residents are supposed to go when they do evacuate."

"The storm hit New Jersey about 8:30 p.m. last night (Monday)," she said. "You could hear the wind pick up and the water rose up in the Hudson River to the door. The wind is one thing, but the flooding is more of a problem here. We lost power and they told us it would be about a week before it would come back."

On Tuesday most of the businesses were closed in New York City, added Brosseau.

"It's worse in the suburbs where there's overhead lines and trees to fall on homes than in the city area," she said. "Downtown we still have power and its work as usual. But, most of the food places and small shops are closed."

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