Downed Wires and Dark Homes: Thousands Remain Without Power in Chicago Area as Frigid Air Encroaches

Jose A. Herrera/

Thousands of Chicago-area residents victims grew increasingly frustrated Monday night as they waited for their power to come back on as they endured the frigid cold.

Many of the ComEd customers were headed toward their second day without power Monday morning as a strong winter storm moved through the area. There are still 70,000 customers without power in Illinois and just under 4,000 in Indiana.

In Streamwood, one side of the street is dark and the other has power. It’s been that way since early in the morning, neighbors said. One family sat in their dark living room wearing winter coats.

"I've called ComEd like 25 times," Donna said.

Donna only got warm once she arrived at work. Her daughter Sam was already home.

“Kept the animals (two rescue labs) warm bundled up in blankets," she said. "We also have a fish that I’ve tried to keep the water warm."

Her father Rich has been trying to get the generator hooked up to run the furnace.

The blackout is the direct result of heavy wet snow.

“We fully understand that outages from this blizzard cause significant hardship for our customers. Our crews are working around the clock to safely restore service as quick as possible.” said Terence R. Donnelly, ComEd's president and chief operating officer, in a statement. “We thank our customers for their patience as our crews navigate difficult working conditions to safely restore power.”

In Mt. Prospect collapsed live wires took out a row of restaurants and an apartment complex. Not just the electricity but cable too.

Nearby in Arlington Heights, ComEd crews were here addressing more downed wires.

One couple told NBC 5 after 22 hours without electricity their car is the warmest refuge they have.

At a condominium complex in Prospect Heights the power returned just before Dean and Allison Dicenza came home form work.

“It was about 55 when we woke up this morning,” Dicenza said.

The temperature was already up to 65 when they allowed a reporter in their home.

A winter snowstorm continued to hit the Chicago area early Monday, leaving several inches of accumulation in its wake. 

The storm was expected to dump anywhere from six to 12 inches of snow across much of northern Illinois, with western and northern areas getting hit especially hard by the storm.

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