Updated 12/28/15 – 3:43 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A combination of freezing rain, sleet, and high winds has knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in the Chicago area, and prompted airlines to cancel more than 1,100 flights at O’Hare and Midway airports on Monday.
A winter storm warning has been issued from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. The National Weather Service said the storm could cause some ice accumulation, with up to a quarter inch for most of the Chicago area, and up to a half inch in the far western suburbs.
The storm also could create sustained winds of 25 to 35, and gusts as high as 50 mph by the afternoon, or even as strong as 60 mph on the lakefront. Those winds could create 15- to 20-foot waves on Lake Michigan, causing significant lakefront flooding, prompting the city to shut down several sections of the Lakefront Trail.
ComEd said, as of 9:30 a.m., approximately 10,000 customers had lost power due to the storm, though most of them already had power restored. Approximately 3,600 were still without power as of 9:30 a.m.
“Our crews are focused on restoring power as quickly and safely as possible,” ComEd chief operating officer Terence Donnelly said in a statement. “We understand our customers’ concerns anytime they lose power. We ask for their patience as we work to repair the damage caused by the high winds and freezing rain.”
ComEd had already added extra crews on Monday in anticipation of power outages caused by the storm. Customers can report outages to ComEd by calling 1-800-EDISON-1, or texting OUT to 26633.
As of 3:30 p.m., more than 900 flights had been canceled at O’Hare International Airport due to de-icing issues, and more than 210 flights had been canceled at Midway International Airport. O’Hare is experiencing delays of up to one hour and Midway is experiencing delays up to two hours. To check the status of your flight, visit flightaware.com.
The city of Chicago has deployed its full fleet of more than 280 snow plows and salt spreaders to keep streets clear of ice. Officials said the trucks would focus on salting the main arterial streets, including Lake Shore Drive, to make sure roads are safe and passable.
City and state officials also were warning drivers to be wary of black ice.
“It can be treacherous, because you don’t know exactly where it’s going to come. Slow down; lower speeds, acceleration, steering, and braking are all required in winter driving conditions,” Illinois Department of Transportation spokeswoman Gianna Urgo said. “Also, this is really important, don’t crowd the plows. A snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted, so you may see them, but they may not see you.”