Benzie County Wakes Up To Widespread Power Outages

"We’ve been without power since I’m thinking around midnight,” said Debbie Hurd, owner of Papa J’s Pizzeria & Diner in Honor.

While Honor’s power has returned, others are still without power Friday after strong winds toppled trees across Northern Michigan.

Those gusty winds were part of a storm system that swept through Thursday night, uprooting trees and taking out power lines.

Benzie County was one of the hardest hit areas.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman checked out the damage and has tonight’s top story.

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At least 4,000 people between Benzonia and Empire lost their power around midnight.

Some went 12 hours before the power finally returned.

“We’re all going to be scrambling,” Hurd said while the power was still out. “I have people on standby to come in to start prepping."

Thousands throughout Benzie County woke up to find signs reading "Closed, No Power".

“I had two of my fellas come in, actually, volunteered to come in at 5 o’clock this morning because we bake our bacon,” Hurd said. “We’re not able to do that."

At Papa J’s, no power meant no refrigeration.

Some of Debbie’s 40 employees also lost hours.

“They count on this money, too, in the summer time,” Hurd said. “They make a big part of their income."

In Honor, Renee Osgood woke up with a similar problem.

“I just went to Meijer yesterday morning, filled my fridge up,” Osgood said. “No power, all that…food can go to waste."

“It throws you back, you know?” said Beverly Harris, who was also without power down the street from Renee. “You are so use to all of this modern electric everything and when it comes to that, you’re just like, what do you do now?"

Beverly and her grandson, Nick, spent the day outdoors, a philosophy shared by others.

“I don’t have a generator, so nothing else, you can’t really use anything in the house,” Harris said.

“I’m just going to come outside,” Osgood said. “It’s a beautiful day. It’s not as hot as yesterday so I’m just going to work in my yard and wait for the power to come on. That’s what you do. You just go on with your daily life."

Benzie County’s power returned around 3 p.m. Friday.

Over 1,400 Consumers employees are working to restore it in other counties. 

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