Area storm takes out trees, causes power outages

Storms in the Mecosta County area on Sunday night and early Monday morning took out trees and dumped 2 to 3 inches of rain in some areas. Pictured is a downed tree on Carlleen Rose’s Colfax Township property. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — The Mecosta County area was socked by a heavy storm late Sunday night and into Monday morning, bringing strong winds that took out trees and caused power outages, as well as heavy rainfall.

Brandon Hoving, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Grand Rapids, said there was generally 2 to 3 inches of rainfall throughout Mecosta County. The most powerful reported winds were 31 mph, at Roben-Hood Airport in Big Rapids, at 10:15 p.m. Sunday.

“We haven’t had many of these thunderstorm events here in Michigan this year. Last night was definitely one of those times,” Hoving said.

According to the Consumers Energy Outage Map online, power was knocked out for a group of about 250 customers in Big Rapids Township at about 5 a.m. Monday due to downed trees. Their power was restored by Monday afternoon, the outage map showed.

In addition, a swath of about 230 customers near Canadian Lakes were without power on Monday due to falling trees. Their power was not expected to be turned back on until Monday night. Small groups of people throughout the county were also left in the dark.

The storm in Mecosta County was part of a larger system that saw more than 56,000 power customers without electricity throughout the west Michigan area, the meteorologist said. It developed in Wisconsin before moving over Lake Michigan and becoming stronger due to humidity already in the area. After a summer filled with drought-like conditions, the storm finally pushed the area over its seasonal average of 10 inches for rainfall.

Hoving said there was a possibility of more thunderstorms later in the week in Big Rapids before the clouds clear up on Thursday.

Some people in the area liked the storm. Steven Bradley, of Big Rapids, said it would be a benefit to farmers and to wildlife.

“We needed the rain,” he said.

The heavy rainfall was not good for everyone, however. Pat Smith lives on Rust Avenue in Big Rapids, where she and other neighbors said flooding occurred on the road. Because Sunday is trash removal day, Smith said, and the water was so high, garbage was being carried from her curb several feet down the street.

There were other issues, too.

“My boyfriend has to get his car repaired because the water got so high. It’s $6,000 to $7,000. The electric is all shot. I don’t know if insurance covers it,” Smith said. “The city said last year they were re-doing the road because of all the flooding, but it isn’t working.”

Big Rapids Department of Public Works Director Heather Bowman said it’s typical for some streets to flood during times of extremely heavy rainfall.

At Carlleen Rose’s home in Colfax Township, multiple trees and branches were knocked down and she briefly lost power.

“At my house, we’ve had a tornado, we’ve had a downburst, but I was more scared of anything yesterday than anything I’ve ever seen there. It lasted for so long and it poured down like you would not believe,” Rose said.

She was happy that “Ole’s Farm Tree,” a 100-year-old tree on the property, managed to survive the storm.

“I’m amazed by it. I fully expected that tree would be knocked down, but to look at it, you’d think it was never touched,” she said.

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