GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some cities pushed trick-or-treating back to Saturday and power outages persisted along the lakeshore Wednesday after a snowy Halloween.
In Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and North Muskegon, trick-or-treating has been rescheduled for Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Officials said they made the decision alongside Consumers Energy and public safety leaders, citing cleanup and power restoration efforts that will continue for the rest of the week.
“The main reason was there was still a number of areas of the city that were without power, or that there were still lines that were down, or tree branches that were down,” Jonathan Seyferth, city manager for Muskegon, said. “So this just gives us a few more days to get mainly those power lines back up. So that way you don’t have kids walking around in the dark and maybe not being able to see those.”
The three cities canceled their typical trick-or-treating hours Tuesday because of the weather. Originally, Muskegon and Muskegon Heights rescheduled for Wednesday.
Tens of thousands of Consumers Energy customers lost power, most of them in Muskegon County. Consumers said 90% of lakeshore customers had their power restored by Thursday morning, with the remaining affected customers expected to have power back on by sunset.
To help combat the cold, the city of Muskegon offered warming centers Wednesday at Smith Ryerson Park and the fire station on Terrace Street. Both were scheduled to close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, but the city said it may reopen them Thursday if power outages continue.
“For the most part, we’re looking for residents who need help charging their cellphones or computers,” Seyferth said. “We do have hot chocolate, hot coffee, things of that nature.”
The city manager told News 8 that turnout at Muskegon’s warming centers has been “pretty light.”
The American Red Cross also opened a warming shelter at Central United Methodist Church on 2nd Street at W. Muskegon Avenue starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday. If you need help, you can call the Red Cross at 1.800.RED.CROSS.
If you’re using a generator, remember it should never be run indoors, including in a garage. In Fruitport Township, near Muskegon, a man died and a woman was seriously sickened after they apparently became overcome by the exhaust fumes from the generator in their garage.
Consumers Energy said more than 1,000 wires came down in Muskegon County alone, blaming “heavy, wet snow mixed with leaves still on the trees.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, Consumers said said crews would work through the night to continue to restore power, with schools a top priority. Districts like Muskegon Public Schools and Mona Shores Public Schools were closed Wednesday due to power outages. North Muskegon Public Schools canceled classes through the end of the week, citing the power outages and downed tree limbs and power lines.
“Consumers Energy is making the Lakeshore our priority after this unusual storm,” the utility’s officer in charge for the storm, Greg Salisbury, said in a statement.
He said the work was “made more complicated as the snow’s weight continued to snap branches.”
Rodney Black of Muskegon Heights lost power Tuesday and was still waiting to get it back Wednesday afternoon.
“When the power goes out, really it comes back pretty quick around here in the Heights,” he said. “I mean, (outages last) three to four hours at the most, usually. But this time, it’s staying out. But I was talking to my brother who lives in Fruitport and he said they’re not supposed to get his power until after 6 this evening.”
Consumers asked people to be on the lookout for teams alongside roads, slow down and give them plenty of space to work. It also reminded people to stay far away from downed power lines: The power lines could be energized, even if you don’t see sparking. If you see a downed line, call Consumers and 911.
Seyferth said the situation is improving in Muskegon.
“It looks we’ll still have some (Muskegon) residents who won’t have power until (Thursday) morning, so that’s unfortunate,” he said. “But the number of residents without power has been decreasing all day, which is great.”
In Kent County, Jerry Byrne, director of maintenance with the Kent County Road Commission, told News 8 that the roads looked good Wednesday.
“We kept people late (Tuesday). They worked throughout the night,” he said. “Certainly not the impact that they saw out at the lakeshore, but there were some scattered slippery spots.”
He said Kent County still has some salt left over from last winter and there is plenty of salt and sand ready for this season.
Byrne recommended that drivers “have good tires” and “mentally prepare … for winter driving.”
“Road authorities can do the best they can, but motorists are a key part of it,” he said.
Drivers are also reminded to slow down for snowplows this summer. If you pass, do so on the left; if you pass on the right, you’ll be putting your car in the path of the snow being pushed away and could end up in ditch.
Tuesday’s snowfall was significant, with a bullseye of 6-10+ inches falling along the lakeshore in Ottawa and Muskegon counties. The snow was also very wet and heavy, which contributed to the falling branches, trees and power lines.
Muskegon received 8.8 inches on Tuesday, which single-handedly made it the snowiest October on record for the city, breaking the old record of 6 inches set in 1910.
— News 8’s Taylor Morris, Meghan Bunchman and Blake Harms contributed to this report.