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Storm recovery continues in West Michigan as more storms head our way

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
A branch covers the street in Grand Rapids following an ice storm in the city.

Consumers Energy says it expects to have power returned to all customers by midday Monday. The utility company says it’s already restored power to more than 200,000 customers since last week’s ice storms.

But the recovery isn’t over in the hardest hit parts of West Michigan.

Tom Turner is pastor of Jesus Non-Denominational Church in Greenville, which has opened as a shelter for those without power.

“Even though it appears like everybody’s got electric, and it’s fine,” Turner says, “we understand there’s still a few that have frozen pipes. And unless you get under a mobile home with a heating element of some kind, you’re not through the storm until it’s done.”

The National Weather Service says it’s also tracking a number of ice jams along the Grand River in West Michigan, which could lead to flooding. Last week, and ice jam in the city of Portland in Ionia County forced about 50 residents to evacuate. There’s still a risk of more flooding in that city.

Meanwhile, Grand Rapids remains under a state of emergency declared by Governor Gretchen Whitmer over the weekend. City officials say they’re working to remove more than a hundred trees and branches that fell on city streets during the ice storm last week.

Grand Rapids city manager Mark Washington said the storms “stretched the city’s capacity in a way leaders had not seen before,” according to a statement released over the weekend.

"A lot of people right now, they've spent all their money on hotels," says Tom Turner, senior pastor at Jesus Non-Denominational Church in Greenville.

More storms are on the way for the region. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for West Michigan for Monday evening through Wednesday. Up to five inches of additional snow are possible for parts of the region. The storms could also bring another round of freezing rain.

Turner says he’s praying the power won’t go out again.

“A lot of people right now, they’ve spent all their money on hotels,” Turner says. “So this round could potentially be more devastating than the first round.”

Turner says he’ll keep his church open in case anyone needs assistance through the storms.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way has a list of other churches and organizations in the area offering help. You can find that here

Anyone in need of assistance can also call 2-1-1 to get more information on the resources available.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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