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Barry Co. declares state of emergency after weekend ice storm

HASTINGS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As of Tuesday, Barry County has now declared a state of emergency.

The recent ice storm pummeled the county, and more than half the population is heading into Christmas still without power.

Utility crews have been hard at work all day repairing downed power lines.

Crews are now focusing their energy on the Hastings and Middleville area, because the population is greater.

At one point, 20,000 people were without electricity in Barry County--roughly 75 percent of the population.

That number is now down to 17,000 as of Tuesday morning.

The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center was even in the dark Monday night, as the backup generator didn't kick on, and dispatchers were forced to call us using their personal cell phones to inform us of what was happening.

Fortunately, power there was restored at about 2:00 a.m.

The Chairman for the Barry County Board of Commissioners told Newschannel 3 that with the high winds predicted, it made sense to declare a state of emergency for Barry County first thing Tuesday morning.

Newschannel 3's Jessica Harthorn joined us from Hastings with the county's plea for help.