The nation’s air transport system creaked back to life today after superstorm Sandy. Metro Detroit escaped the worst of superstorm Sandy’s effects, but it still left thousands without power in southeast Michigan, churned up powerful waves on the Great Lakes and caused havoc for many trying to fly into and out of Detroit. The effects of the unusually powerful late October storm could continue to be felt for days.
About 40,000 DTE Energy customers remain without power today as crews work to repair damage.
The largest outages includes 10,000 customers in St. Clair County, DTE Energy spokesman John Austerberry said today. Oakland County has 6,000 customers out; 4,000 are without power in Wayne County, and Macomb County has 2,000 customers out. The rest are scattered across the region.
“We are still on track to get 90% of the customers who lost power restored by the end of the day,” Austerberry said. “I think by Thursday, we will be largely done. What will remain will be smaller outages.”
The company has requested additional crews from electric companies further west, he added. Before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, the company allowed 100 contract workers to head east to help.
“As you can imagine, with 7 million customers without power along the Atlantic Coast, a lot of resources are being directed there,” he said.
He said no regular DTE crews have been released because they are addressing the outages here.
“It’s a struggle out there,” he said.
A high temperature of 45 degrees is expected in metro Detroit today with a 60% chance of rain but lighter winds, said National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Considine. AccuWeather, the weather report of the Free Press, said it will get up to 49. Metro Detroit saw wind, rain, snow and sleet as the effects of Sandy swirled across southeast Michigan on Tuesday. Wind gusts were 40-50 m.p.h., according to the National Weather Service.
Wave heights reached nearly 30 feet in Lake Huron, Considine said.
Detroit Metro Airport has 47 departures and arrivals canceled so far for today, including all flights to and from Newark and the still-shuttered New York LaGuardia airport.
New York’s JFK airport, which opened on a limited basis this morning, has flights scheduled this afternoon to Detroit – but travelers should reconfirm flights before heading out.
Nationwide, 2,658 flights have been canceled today, according to FlightStats.com, which tracks air operations. That is a lot – but far less than the 7,000 canceled each of the last two days.
It could be the weekend before all those displaced and delayed by the storm Sandy get where they need to go. The nation’s airlines run such lean operations that there are no spare planes or crews available to transport delayed passengers.
Until then, many Michiganders are stuck in New York, and New Yorkers are stuck in Michigan.