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Wacky weather causes downed trees, outages

by CJ Carnacchio

July 11, 2012

Beneath the blazing sun, Jeff Allen, of Independence Township, cuts up a fallen tree on Second St. in the unincorporated community of Thomas, located in northern Oxford Township. Allen works for J.H. Hart Urban Forestry in Sterling Heights. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
The Oxford-Addison area suffered a severe case of schizophrenic weather last week.

An on-again, off-again mixture of extreme heat, severe thunderstorms, high winds and even some half-inch hail dominated the great outdoors July 3-5.

Winds of in excess of 60 miles per hour roared through causing many branches, limbs and even entire trees to come crashing to the ground. Some of these falling timbers took power lines with them.

At one point on July 5, DTE Energy was reporting 1,077 customers were without power in Oxford Township. Wires were reported down near the intersection of Ludwig and Oakwood roads, off W. Drahner Rd. and along Dewey and Thomas roads.

In the unincorporated community of Thomas, located in the northern part of the township, a massive tree's trunk split apart, causing it to fall over and completely block Second St. "It was laying on top of all the telephone (and cable) lines, pulling the (utility) poles down towards it," said Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz.

One of the utility poles cracked as a result of the extra weight and had to be replaced.

Other than downed wires and trees, Scholz indicated it had been pretty quiet during this period of wacky weather, which included temperatures that consistently hovered around 100 degrees for most of the week.

"It's almost like people either all left town or they were just kind of hunkered down in the shade some place, taking it easy," he said.

Over in neighboring Addison Township, things were about the same.

"There were probably about six or eight trees that we helped cut up," said Addison Fire Chief Jerry Morawski. "We had a major electrical line down by Brewer and Rochester roads. That shut down quite a few people because it was a (40,000-volt) transmission line for DTE. The whole area from Rochester and Brewer south had no power."

There were also wires down on Rowland and Noble roads.

Addison medics had to transport a woman who lives in the Hidden Lakes Estates trailer park to the hospital because there was no electricity to run her oxygen machine.

"Other than that, we were pretty good," Morawksi said.