Flooding Leaves Nearly 1 Million Michigan Homes, Businesses Without Power During Heat Wave

Flooding spawned by heavy rains left nearly 1 million Michigan homes and businesses without power Thursday during a heat wave hitting the Northwest, Northeast and central parts of the nation, the Associated Press reported.

After rain poured down overnight, flooding hit the state early Thursday morning. Nearly 600,000 of the power outages happened to DTE Energy customers in the state's southeastern region. Michigan's Public Service Commission advised those still without power to check in with their local government about cooling centers and said utilities are offering ice, bottled water and other help.

"Our crews are in the field working hard to get the power back," public utility Consumers Energy, which provides natural gas and electricity to around 6.6 million Michigan residents, wrote on Twitter.

Our crews are in the field working hard to get the power back. You can get your estimated time of restoration and get alerts from our Outage Center. https://t.co/XPoaTRaokJ pic.twitter.com/3B8PUzsuN9

— Consumers Energy (@ConsumersEnergy) August 12, 2021

The National Weather Service said heat advisories and warnings are in effect until at least Friday.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Damaged Power Lines
Flooding left nearly 1 million Michigan homes and businesses without power during a heat wave hitting regions across the nation. In this photo, a Pepco employee works to stabilize power lines damaged in a massive storm that swept through the region Friday night, July 1, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland. Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Volunteers handed out water to homeless people in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday as the Pacific Northwest entered the peak days of a scorching heat wave in the usually temperate region.

Authorities trying to provide relief to vulnerable people are mindful of a record-shattering heat wave in late June that killed hundreds in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

In Portland, temperatures on Wednesday reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) — tying a record set for the day in 1977. It's supposed to get even hotter Thursday and Friday. In Seattle, highs were predicted to reach the upper 90s in a region where many don't have air conditioning.

Scorching weather also hit other parts of the U.S. this week. The National Weather Service said heat advisories and warnings are in effect from the Midwest to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

In Portland, a homeless advocacy group was using three large vans to transport water and other cooling items to homeless encampments on the outskirts of the city. The effort was important, advocates said, because people experiencing homelessness are often reluctant to go to cooling centers.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Luna Abadia was out training for cross country with her team from Lincoln High School in downtown Portland. The group stopped to refresh themselves in a large public fountain as temperatures hit the 80s by 9 a.m.

The runners normally train at 4 p.m. but in recent weeks, have had to shift it to 8 a.m. because of the heat, she said.

"It was very hot, lots of sweat. That's something we've noticed in the past week or so," Abadia said. "A really important thing we've been focusing on is hydrating enough, which is hard because when we're doing runs in the city, we can't necessarily bring water with us, so it's a challenge to hydrate."

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency and activated an emergency operations center, citing the potential for disruptions to the power grid and transportation. Besides opening cooling centers, city and county governments are extending public library hours and waiving bus fare for those headed to cooling centers. A 24-hour statewide helpline will direct callers to the nearest cooling shelter and offer safety tips.

The back-to-back heat waves, coupled with a summer that's been exceptionally warm and dry overall, are pummeling a region where summer highs usually drift into the 70s or 80s. Intense heat waves and a historic drought in the American West reflect climate change that is making weather more extreme.

On Wednesday, people began coming into a 24-hour cooling center in north Portland before it opened on the first day of the heat wave.

The first few people in were experiencing homelessness. Among them was December Snedecor, who slept two nights in the same center in June when temperatures reached 116 F (47 C).

She said she planned to sleep there again this week because the heat in her tent was unbearable.

"I poured water over myself a lot. It was up in the teens, hundred-and-something heat. It made me dizzy. It was not good," Snedecor said of the June heat.

Abadia, the high school runner, recently started a youth-run organization to address climate change after seeing her life directly affected by it.

"Climate change is everything I've been thinking about for the past weeks," she said. "This heat wave and the wildfires we faced here a year ago — and even now around the world — have really been a new reminder to what we're facing and, kind of, the immediate action that needs to be taken."

Oregon Volunteers With Water for Cooling Station
Volunteers and Multnomah County employees unload cases of water to supply a 24-hour cooling center set up in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, as a dangerous heat wave grips the Pacific Northwest. Gillian Flaccus/AP Photo