Cleanup Continues In Wake Of Severe Storms, Tornados
Updated 07/02/14 -10:11 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the Chicago area were still without power Wednesday morning, more than a day after two severe storms pummeled the region.
Monday night’s storms spawned eight small tornados, one of which touched down in southwest suburban Plainfield, knocking down more than 50 trees and many power lines. Fences in the area also were knocked over, or in some cases blown to bits.
The National Weather Service said all eight twisters were classified as EF-1 tornados, the second-lowest measurement. One struck in Plainfield and neighboring Romeoville in Will County, another struck in Earlville in LaSalle County, one hit in Kendall County, three others hit in Grant Park in Kankakee County, one in Lowell Ind and one near Demotte, Ind. They also confirmed that the tornadoes were spawned by two derechos.
As of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 28,000 ComEd customers were without power across the entire Chicago area, due to damage from Monday’s storms. The vast majority of those who lost power were in the south suburbs.
ComEd said a total of 436,000 customers lost power Monday night due to the storms. Officials expect the vast majority of customers who are still without power to get it back by Thursday, although some people have been told they might not have electricity again until Saturday. More than 760 repair crews were out in the field on Wednesday, including some from out of state.
In northwest Indiana, approximately 18,500 NIPSCO customers were still without power as of 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, down from a peak of 121,000. NIPSCO officials hoped to have power back to all its customers by the end of the day.
Some people in hard-hit Midlothian are finally seeing the light. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports after 48 hours of waiting, the power around 148th and Kostner is back on.
Just before 8 p.m., electrical contractors who’d been brought in from nine states by Comed made the last adjustment and brought electricity back. At the Gomez family house the folks, signaled by turning on the porch light then waved goodbye to the crews.
But there are still hundreds of customers throughout Midlothian and the other south suburbs still waiting for their magic moment.
Among them the popular Hog Wild restaurant and the big Fourth of July weekend is ahead.
“The best thing we can do is pray that we will back and running tomorrow,“ said Brian Pikorz.
Restaurant owner Bruce Moy is in the same boat.
I have lost,I still have to pay cooks, I have to throw away food,I have no idea when I can go back to work,” said Moy.
And the owners of the Flossmoor Station micro brew pub are worried about losing more than food. Craft beers are at stake.
In south suburban Dolton, officials planned to distribute water and bags of ice to storm victims in need of assistance.
Those who can’t make it to the Dolton Fire Department to pick up ice or water might get a visit from the city’s police chief or fire chief – or both – as the two have been conducting well-being checks to help residents who might still be without power.
Among those who they visited Wednesday was Huey Walker, a retiree raising a son with special needs. His son is entirely dependent on his parents for survival.
Walker was one of 30 seniors officials planned to visit on Wednesday.
“We have a lot of senior citizens out here. We have a lot of people who are on oxygen; that if they lose electricity, they may lose their oxygen. So we do well-being checks on all them to make sure everything is fine, in case we have to help them out and maybe get them moved out of their homes,” Dolton Fire Chief Terry Hughes said.
Walker said, when the Fire Department showed up at his house Wednesday morning, he was in bed, with nothing to do.
“When they came, and I saw their face, we just smiled when they came, because we had someone looking after us,” Walker said.