ComEd, suburbs continue cleanup from storm
Nearly 90,000 ComEd customers, most of them in the suburbs, remain without power as of 11 a.m. this morning as a result of Tuesday's powerful storms that knocked down utility poles and power lines across the area.
ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez said 700 crews are deployed today working to restore power to the 89,979 still without. The company expects to restore about 90 percent of the remaining outages by the end of the day, he said.
Of the remaining customers without power, Hernandez said, only 371 are in Chicago.
According to an outage map posted this morning on ComEd's website, 10,000 or more customers remain without electricity surrounding the utility's regional office in Mount Prospect, Skokie, Glenbard and Maywood. Between 3,000 and 10,000 customers are without power surrounding the Libertyville and Bolingbrook regional offices, the latest map indicates.
Suburban residents continue to clean up this morning from the storms Tuesday night that included tornadoes and wind gusts reaching as high as 100 mph in Mount Prospect.
Elsewhere winds knocked down numerous trees, parts of billboards fell on to the Addams Tollway and Sugar Grove officials reported a bolt of lightning striking a home.
Surveyors confirmed tornadoes in Mount Prospect, near We Go Trail and Golf Road, and in Downers Grove at 55th and Main streets.
Wheeling reported winds of 81 mph and eight homes with structural damage. Elmhurst, Schaumburg and Naperville measured winds at more than 70 mph.
Wheeling resident Karen Peter lives at Stone and Manchester streets and saw the damage Tuesday night while at home with her mother. A fallen tree covered her front door and part of her house.
"We shut all the doors and we were in the hallway, and you could just see the tree coming down," Peter said.
The winds also blew down many trees as much as 60 years old on the east side of Wheeling.
"It's just heartbreaking because the were beautiful trees and we don't have them," Wheeling Public Works Director Tony Stavros said.
A power outage forced Cook County officials to close the West suburban Maywood courthouse Wednesday. All civil cases scheduled for Wednesday have been rescheduled to Wednesday, June 29, a news release read. Traffic, misdemeanor and felony cases for all defendants in custody have been shifted to Friday. Those cases with defendants free on bond have been rescheduled to July 27.
The Chicago Department of Aviation reported 300 canceled flights at O'Hare International Airport and 30 canceled flights at Midway Airport Tuesday night.
United Airlines spokesman Mike Trevino said the winds moved and damaged an airplane while it was parked at a gate, but he didn't know the extent of the damage or how the distance the plane moved.
Metra reported morning service delays averaging about 20 minutes and that one outbound train late Tuesday was stuck for about five hours when a power line landed on the rail.
Motorists experienced only minor delays on the expressways Wednesday, but long delays on side streets were reported due to tree debris and stoplights that weren't working.
Mail delivery and retail services in the 600 ZIP code area were limited as a result of power outages at the Des Plaines, Glencoe, Golf, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Mount Prospect, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling post offices.
Here's an alphabetical sampling of suburbs where the storm caused the most problems.
Public works crews and residents are working to clear dozens of trees downed by the fierce winds from cars, houses, and streets.
"Now our streets are 80 percent passable," Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan said. "There are still streets closed because there's trees blocking the access and there are power lines intertwined with the trees. Transformers fell right off the poles right onto the street."
Moylan said so far no resident has been displaced.
"If there is a need for shelter, then we will have a place for them to go," Moylan said
Moylan added: "It was a major event. Luckily there was no one hurt."
A fierce gust of wind around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday knocked down a tall tree in the DeMarcos front yard along Fourth Avenue. It dragged down power lines with it and snapped the electricity pole in half. It just missed their car by about six inches and fell roughly three feet from the house, Steven DeMarco.
DeMarco said he and his wife, Heidi, and two children ran out the back door and hopped the fence to the neighbor's house.
"I myself ran into the side street and I saw all these lines down in the front yard, banging and popping," he said.
He immediately called emergency crews. While police and fire personnel responded immediately, ComEd crews didn't shut off the power to the area until late Wednesday morning, he said.
In northern DuPage County, Bensenville's Redmond Park was hit hard by the storm. Wind blew over several bleachers and pulled down a fence in the village-maintained park, while also littering the area with downed trees.
The park will be the home to Libertyfest in nine days, a four-day event that serves as a fest for Bensenville, Addison, Elmhurst and Wood Dale. Village spokeswoman Diana Paluch no injuries were reported in Bensenville and it appears most homes were spared tree damage. Several cars, however, "looked pretty smashed up," she added.
The village also had to use generators Tuesday night at The Edge Ice Arena, where power outages threatened to melt the ice.
"If you lose that ice, it's a pretty big investment," Paluch said.
Bensenville Park District officials said Wednesday morning The White Pines Golf Club was still without power and the facility might lose some food products.
Storms hit Elmhurst hard Tuesday night, causing power outages for about 14,000 residences, the city manager's office said.
With more than 100 power lines knocked down in the storm, according to an Elmhurst news release, a large portion of the city's downtown business district also lacked power Wednesday morning.
Jennifer Hughes, public works director of Lincolnshire, said crews were out clearing downed trees. She said about half the town remains without power on Wednesday morning and that many homes on Berkshire Road were encumbered by fallen trees.
"We're doing the best we can to get the trees moved," she said.
Straight-line winds between 90 to 100 mph produced extensive tree damaged and blocked several streets and about 25 traffic signals stopped functioning because of the storm, said Mount Prospect Assistant Village Manger Dave Strahl.
Strahl said he does not know when the traffic lights will be restored, but until such time, police will be at busy intersections to help direct traffic and more will be present during rush hour.
The village released an emergency update Wednesday afternoon with general information for residents, telling them how to stay safe, clear debris and keep perishable foods cold or frozen.
The update also said the police department will not take damage reports at this time and also suggests residents contact their insurance agents and take pictures and video of damage.
Power outages knocked out power for about 60 percent of Oak Brook's customers on Tuesday morning. The village notified ComEd of the power outages, which affect residential and commercial customers, said assistant village manager Blaine Wing.
Lightning struck a house Tuesday night in Sugar Grove. Fire Chief Marty Kunkel said no one was hurt, as the attic and roof sustained the most damage. The house is inhabitable and had $95,000 worth of damage. The home, on the 200 block of Carol Street, was struck around 8:34 p.m., according to fire officials.
Steve Lusted, Batavia's manager of electric operations, said approximately 200 customers were without electricity late Tuesday. The outages were mostly on the east side of town, and most had power Wednesday, he said.
Glynn Amburgey, electric and communications manager for the city of St. Charles, said there were three major quick interruptions that affected 600 to 800 customers.
"Relatively speaking, we were pretty unscathed," Amburgey said Wednesday. "It took several hours to get electricity back for a few specific customers but they were mainly only spot outages."
Alice Marks and her three children were in the basement of their Wheaton home about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday when they heard a loud and booming sound that they thought was thunder.
When Marks went upstairs a short time later to look for her cat, she found that a 5-foot-long tree branch had pierced through the ceiling of her bedroom.
A powerful burst of wind broke the top off a 60-foot maple tree in a neighbor's backyard. Half of the tree section fell on top of the roof of Marks' house along East Willow Avenue. The rest crushed the corner of a neighbors' garage and part of a fence.
Marks said she was surprised by the damage because the storm didn't seem very severe.
"There was no rain, no thunder, no lightning," Marks said on Wednesday. "There was just this big boom at the back of the house, and we thought that was the storm starting."
She said she's pleased her family went to the basement as soon as they heard the warning sirens.
The Chicago Executive Airport had pieces of hangar roofs ripped of, while stranded air travelers were ushered into windowless areas at O'Hare International Airport as protection from the damaging storm.
Dennis Rouleau, director of the airport, said the roofs of hangars five, six and 12 were ripped off while 1,000 feet of fencing around the property was destroyed. He added four airplanes were damaged in the storm, and that two of the four had completely flipped over.
"We are still open, though," he said. "We did an airfield inspection for debris after the storm moved on and the runways were OK, and the Wheeling building department inspected our buildings to make sure everything was safe. Anything else can be repaired in relatively short order."
• Daily Herald staff writers Lee Filas, Justin Kmitch, Samantha Kiesel, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Rachel Levin, Beth Mistretta, Robert Sanchez, Ashok Selvam and Sam Wagner contributed to this report.