Arlington Heights storm response, by the numbers

 
 
Posted12/4/2018 5:30 AM
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  • The snowstorm that struck the suburbs last week hit Arlington Heights especially hard, with power knocked out to some 12,000 residents at the height of the storm.

      The snowstorm that struck the suburbs last week hit Arlington Heights especially hard, with power knocked out to some 12,000 residents at the height of the storm. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, November 2018

A week after an early winter snowstorm left thousands in the dark in Arlington Heights -- one of the hardest-hit towns in the suburbs -- officials shared statistics that show the enormity of its effect on the village.

At the height of the storm the evening of Nov. 25 into the following morning, some 12,000 power outages were reported in Arlington Heights -- the second most after Chicago among the 350,000 ComEd customers without power, officials said.

Power was restored to about 6,000 in Arlington Heights within a day or two, and 1,000 still remained in the dark by midweek. By Thursday, electricity was back on, with only some scattered outages reported over the weekend.

During a village board meeting Monday, Mayor Tom Hayes complimented the work of the village staff in responding to a storm he called "unusual and challenging."

"From power outages to street closures to all kinds of inconveniences and some serious situations, we appreciate everyone's cooperation," Hayes said.

Hayes outlined the ways village departments responded to the storm, by the numbers:

• The public works department deployed 52 snow plows, with drivers on continuous 16-hour shifts. Many of those workers later shifted to cutting down trees to remove hazards and clear streets. At least one water main break occurred.

• That department also fielded 662 phone calls last Monday and Tuesday, while village hall itself received hundreds of storm-related calls.

• The fire department responded to 84 downed power lines and seven auto accidents, while providing 35 ambulance responses and a cardiac arrest save.

• The police department responded to 130 storm-related calls and 23 storm-related traffic accidents.

How much the storm will cost the village -- including employee overtime, equipment, outside contractors and a special debris pickup next week -- is still being tabulated, said Village Manager Randy Recklaus. He said the plan is to use village reserve funds.

Recklaus last week expressed frustration with ComEd's immediate response -- providing only two crews of two people -- and what he believes was ineffective communication.

But he said Monday both sides have continued to talk, which included an in-person meeting at village hall.

Last week, ComEd said it brought in 1,500 crews from the East Coast and from Illinois' neighboring states to augment ComEd's 1,200 employees, while saying it would improve its computer system to provide customers more timely updates on restoration efforts.

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