Thousands of homes and businesses throughout southern Michigan are without power this morning. Consumers Energy, Indiana-Michigan Power, and DTE Energy, all have crews in the field working to get service restored.

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National weather service forecasters were telling us by mid-day yesterday to be ready for something. They called for strong thunderstorm activity overnight along with the potential of tornadoes. Sure enough, by around 10 last night, tornado warnings were going up in several areas along the Michigan -Indiana border.

Spotters were reporting a visible funnel cloud near Coldwater, but there’s no evidence so far of any damage that may have been the result of a touchdown, or close to one.

An apparent tornado touched down in Woodbridge in the Chicago metro area, barely ten miles southwest of the Brookfield Zoo. The unverified tornado swept across several miles of the heavily populated area and crossed two interstates. That line then moved into Michigan. That set up new tornado warnings around 1:30 this morning in Vanburen County to the southwest of Kalamazoo.  Weather forecasters were noting cloud and wind rotation along the leading edge of the line for nearly 45 minutes but nothing so far is reported.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been any storm damage though. Consumers Energy is reporting more than 20 thousand customers are so far confirmed to have lost electrical service. Areas are scattered all throughout the southern counties of Consumer’s service area, including Calhoun, Kalamazoo, and Branch counties.

Some of the outage areas involve just a single home or business, while others are affecting well into the hundreds of customers. As of a little before 5 this morning, Consumers has over 450 separate outage areas to deal with. That could easily put the service restoration time frame well into tomorrow for some customers in the more rural areas.

Lots of wires were brought down by falling limbs or entire trees. Some area traffic lights are inoperative. And limb and tree debris is affecting traffic in some areas with roads blocked by limbs and trees. More that were weakened by the storm could fall at any moment so be ready for the potential throughout the next couple days.

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