Chicago/ Weather & Environment
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Published on May 22, 2024
Over 12,000 ComEd Customers in Chicago Area Lose Power Amid Severe StormsSource: Unsplash/Fré Sonneveld

As high winds and severe weather hammered the Chicago area, thousands of ComEd customers found themselves plunged into darkness Tuesday night, waiting for crews to restore the light. Over 12,700 households were grappling with blackouts by 9 p.m., a disruption sprawling across Cook, Winnebago, and Stephenson counties, with the most acute absence of electricity felt by more than 2,300 homes in Cook County alone, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The assailant was the weather, described by the National Weather Service as a bout of severe thunderstorms that began to make landfall around 7 p.m., these tempests carted in damaging gusts clocking up to 75 mph, with the menace of hail and the whirling peril of possible tornadoes in tow, nature's unforgiving caprice dealt Northern Illinois a heavy hand—but it's ComEd's vow to swiftly pivot from reeling to recovery that punctuates the night. "We recognize that outages at any time are inconvenient," admitted ComEd's COO David Perez to the Sun-Times, stressing that the mission is to "get the power flowing for any and every customer who experiences an outage."

Earlier in the evening, as an ominous sky foretold trouble, ComEd's outage map bloomed with indicators of disruption—per NBC Chicago, more than 12,000 customers were power-deprived as of 8:20 p.m., with Stephenson County's count exceeding 4,300 affected customers, while nearby Cook and Winnebago counties recorded nearly 2,000 each, not to mention Lake and DuPage counties where hundreds more were met with the same fate, all before the anticipated brunt of the storms even touched down.

The grim forecast had also prompted a tornado watch that spanned multiple counties, these warnings shepherded by the vigilance of the National Weather Service, ensuring that places like McHenry, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, and Kendall counties were well within the eye of concerned monitoring ComEd, juxtaposed against the tempest's might, clambered to brace its grid and dispersed crews strategically as the night advanced, a choreography of preparedness for what darkness might bring, and ultimately, the winds are expected to wane post-cold front by Wednesday morning, signaled by the descent of cooler temperatures, this according to NBC Chicago.

Those affected by power outages are encouraged by ComEd to report via their outage hotline at (800) 334-7661 or (800) 955-8237 for Spanish-speaking customers. As for those bearing the brunt of the weather's ire, ComEd has vowed to prioritize establishments critical to public safety and health. Police and fire stations, hospitals, and nursing homes rest atop the list, as the scramble to restore normalcy in the wake of nature's fury is underway.