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.”