CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 700 ComEd workers and contractors were headed to the East Coast on Friday, to assist counterparts there with the possibility of widespread power outages as a massive winter storm bears down.

Winter Storm Jonas was making its way from Arkansas and Alabama to New England, and could produce up to two or three feet of snow and 60 mph winds in some areas.

“That’s pretty high. It’s pretty high,” said ComEd assistant incident commander Mike McMahon.

ComEd has dispatched more than 200 crews to Philadelphia and Baltimore to assist utility workers in those cities restore power as quickly as possible once the storm hits. The crews include 156 ComEd utility crews (613 people) and 50 contractor tree trimmers (162 people).

“They know that they’re going to face freezing conditions. They know they’re going to face heavy snow. Probably a lot of downed wires,” McMahon said.

Many workers received their marching orders Friday morning at a ComEd facility in south suburban University Park, as they prepared to head east on an open-ended mission.

“Right now, we’re expecting around – from what I’m hearing – two to three, about two feet of snow. Some of the times, the guys are up to their waist in snow,” ComEd electrical ops manager Gene Leavitt said.

Crew member Dave Pliner said he knows a lot of people will be depending on him. Does he feel pressure?

“Maybe a little bit sometimes. I mean, we try not to put ourselves in a pressure situation,” he said. “We just want to get the work done, and want to do it as safely as we possibly can.”

Leavitt stressed safety first for his crews.

“I don’t care if we put a million customers on [if] we get one someone hurt,” he told the workers.

He said there is a lot of excitement heading out on a mission like this one.

“The guys are high on the morale, and the guys look forward to helping out,” he said. “They get a little bit of an adrenaline rush. You know, you’re going out to assist other people that are going to be without power. It’s going to be difficult to work in. We’re prepared safety-wise. We’re very prepared to handle any situation they may encounter, though.”

Pliner has been on missions like this before, and he knows the crews might be viewed as heroes, depending on how bad things get.

“The first couple days, people seem to be more upset about losing power; but then after an extended period of time, people seem to just want to see somebody from a utility,” he said.

The crews have no idea how long they’ll be gone, but know they’ll be in for some long days.