OTSEGO, Mich. (WOOD) - Storms blew through parts of West Michigan late Wednesday night and early Thursday, leaving 35,000 people without power. Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo County were hit the hardest.
On a residential street in Otsego, a Consumers Energy crew was busy putting the wires back on the poles where they belonged on Thursday afternoon.
Across the street, Matt Henline watched and remembered what it was like when the storm hit.
"Power lines over by the white house were sparking," Henline said. "I think if it wasn't raining, it would have been a bad fire."
Another one of the hardest-hit areas was the Alamo area in Kalamazoo County.
That was where a growing pile of scrap metal was all that was left of a silo on the Matt Drobny Farm where people spent Thursday morning searching the neighboring cornfield for debris.
Not only the silo but an old, unused milk barn was flattened. The wind also smashed another barn used mostly for storage.
It appeared as though the storm roared right down D Avenue and into Alamo, where Dave Cramer told 24 Hour News 8 that there was so much lightening flashing it was like constant daylight.
"I looked across the field and seen Jurgens' farm over there and all of a sudden it looked like the farm went black," Cramer said. "But it was gray out and what it had to have been was this wall of water comin'. The wind hit so fast.... unreal. Before I could get away from the window, limbs were snappin' and trees were, you could hear trees snappin', limbs breakin'."
Like Cramer, people all over the Alamo area used chain saws and brute strength to clean up the mess on Thursday.
Lou Conti, the Alamo Township supervisor, said the damage crossed the whole area.
"Well, it's been widespread throughout the township," he said. "Trees down just about everywhere. Roads blocked."
At the township cemetery, a huge tree took headstones with it when the wind pushed it over and out of the ground.
"It was unreal," Cramer said. "I never seen anything like that and hopefully never will again."
Aside from the debris and downed trees, thousands of people were still without power Thursday afternoon. However, Consumers Energy power crews had whittled down the number of customers without power from 35,000 to 27,000.
Consumers Energy said it has 163 two-person crews working, helped by 102 three-member crews that spent the day cutting trees.
24 Hour News 8 asked Roger Morgenstern with Consumers Energy how the company decides where the crews will be sent first.
"We look at obviously critical areas. If there are any hospitals or public safety that are out and then we see where the greatest damage is, where we have to do some work first, like removing trees," Morgenstern said. "And then we look at areas where maybe fixing an area where we have higher voltage [and] we can get more people on."
Morgenstern said there are a lot of rural areas that are without power and in some cases, the downed lines are hard to get to. He said some people won't have power until late Friday afternoon.
A memorial marker was unveiled for three young siblings who died in an apartment fire 10 months ago.
Battle Creek Police are investigating a fight caught on camera inside a middle school locker room.
A special surprise in Kalamazoo as a famous native, and New York City sports star, handed out gifts to hundreds of local kids Thursday night.