Gov. Whitmer declares state of emergency in Grand Rapids

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency Saturday night for Grand Rapids after severe winter weather this week paralyzed the area.

The city requested assistance from the state, according to the Governor's office, as power outages and hazardous driving conditions continue to plague the Grand Rapids metro area.

“Our first responders and volunteer services continue to work diligently to protect public health and safety, while utility workers continue efforts to restore power to the residents of Grand Rapids and I thank all of them for their work,” Whitmer wrote in a press release Saturday night. “This declaration will ensure state assistance is available to help the community with recovery efforts.”

Grand Rapids declared a local state of emergency earlier Saturday, activating its response and recovery plans. Gov. Whitmer's declaration allows all state resources to assist local efforts. Specifically, it gives Michigan State Police's emergency management and homeland security division more authority to help local agencies.

The severe winter weather that hit West Michigan Thursday knocked down trees and power lines across Grand Rapids, cutting power to 42,000 people.

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