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US Midwest Hard Hit by Power Outage


A massive power blackout that struck eight U.S. states and parts of Canada Thursday will likely drag on for a few more days in some areas. Power crews are slowly restoring electricity to the affected areas.

There has been some good news in Michigan since the power went out Thursday afternoon. Electricity in the state capital, Lansing, came on in the middle of the night. The power is also back on in some suburbs and other smaller communities.

But for heavily populated areas, such as the city of Detroit, officials say it could be Sunday before the electricity is fully restored. By late morning Friday, the Detroit Edison Company said it had restored the power to about 150,000 of its customers, but it still has almost two million without electricity.

The lack of power is also causing problems for water treatment facilities. Most communities in southeast Michigan are urging people to conserve water, and use it only for drinking and cooking. Wayne County, where Detroit is located, is asking people not to use water at all.

The blackout has given a lot of people the day off from work. Major domestic autoworkers told their production workers in the Detroit area on Friday to stay home.

City streets and highways that would usually have been crowded with commuters Friday morning were largely empty. About the only area in Detroit with a serious backup was on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge - that's the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada. Backups, with trucks waiting to get into Canada were reported to be almost two hours long.

As power has been restored to some smaller communities, it has been both a blessing and a curse. Gas stations and shops that have electricity were reporting very long lines of customers. But those long lines are creating traffic jams in small downtowns that don't usually see a lot of cars on their roads.