42,000 still without power for second day after blizzard
Arlington Heights resident Holly Anderson said she didn't exactly know how cold it was in her house when she woke up Monday morning -- just that it was "pretty chilly."
Anderson, who lost electricity to her house about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, said she and her son spent Monday at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library so they could be surrounded by heat.
"We also have well and septic at home, so we didn't have running water" because the pump is electric, she said. "But we are making the best of it."
Roughly 42,000 customers in northern Illinois still were without electricity as of 4:30 a.m. Tuesday because of the snow that hit Chicago and the suburbs.
Sunday's storm featured blizzardlike conditions with up to 13 inches of wet, heavy snow and wind gusts up to 50 mph in some areas that snapped tree limbs and downed power lines.
Officials said about 350,000 ComEd customers lost power, but service has been restored to many of them.
Arlington Heights officials said the village was the second-hardest hit after Chicago and that ComEd could not say when more than 5,000 without power would get service back. Those residents should stay with friends or relatives and should call the police front desk at (847) 368-5300 if they have mobility or transportation problems. A warming shelter at the Senior Center, 1801 W. Central Road, is open until 8 p.m. and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton, is open until 10 p.m.
"If you are experiencing a problem that requires an immediate response, do not hesitate to call 911," the village statement said.
More than 800 ComEd and contractor crews are working to restore service to all customers, the company said, and 250 more employees and contractors from ComEd's sister Exelon energy companies are traveling to northern Illinois to help.
"We fully understand that outages from this blizzard cause significant hardship for our customers. Our crews are working around the clock to safely restore service as quick as possible," Terence R. Donnelly, ComEd president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
ComEd said in an alert on its website and in the news release that crews are in the field assessing damage and preparing to restore power as soon as conditions are safe. It will focus first on restoring power to emergency facilities, hospitals and nursing homes.
Mount Prospect resident Sherry Lacerra said the street to her subdivision was closed for a while by police because of downed power lines nearby. The snowplowing contractor wasn't able to come, and a U.S. postal truck got stuck in the snow until a neighbor helped, she said.
Lacerra said she and her husband kept warm by camping out by the living room fireplace, where the temperature Monday afternoon was "a balmy 70 to 72 degrees." But with nighttime outdoor temperatures heading for the teens, they were going to decide whether to stay another night or walk to the end of the street to be picked up and stay elsewhere, she said.
The couple had cellphone service thanks to three fully-charged portable battery packs, and they placed food perishables from the fridge and freezer into two coolers outside. "I'm worried about critters, raccoons and what not," Lacerra said. "Hopefully, they won't find it."
You check on the status of outages for the region or even by address at ComEd's outage map. You also can obtain updates by following ComEd on Twitter and Facebook or by texting STAT to 26633.
Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said he had been told there were still "a few thousand" customers in town without power, and he urged people to head to warming centers at park district buildings or the police facilities.
"We have not heard any estimated time to be up and running," McLeod said. "It's frustrating because we are waiting for information. But we are doing the best we can."
As for Anderson, she said her husband was at home, draining water from the sump and waiting for the lights to come on.
"He's a real trouper," she said.
• Daily Herald staff writer Elena Ferrarin contributed to this report.