With a tornado watch in effect for the majority of the Chicago area and the possibility of severe thunderstorms, ComEd is urging residents to take precautions and positioning crews in the event of potential power outages.
Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and quarter-size hail have been reported with storms that occurred Saturday afternoon, and more are possible in the evening hours, according to the National Weather Service.
"We are positioning our people and equipment to respond quickly and safely to any power outages that result from this storm,” Terence Donnelly, president and COO of ComEd, stated in a news release. “We continue to make investments to harden the power grid and improve resilience to reduce the impacts a storm like this can have on our customers.”
The utility also provided some tips and advice to residents on how to prepare for storms, including charging cell phones and taking other precautions, including:
- If a downed power line is spotted, immediately call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661). Spanish-speaking customers should call 1-800-95-LUCES (1-800-955-8237).
- Never approach a downed power line. Always assume a power line is extremely dangerous and energized.
- In the event of an outage, do not approach ComEd crews working to restore power to ask about restoration times. Crews may be working on live electrical equipment, and the perimeter of the work zone may be hazardous. Additionally, for the safety of themselves and the public, crews are practicing social distancing.
When responding to storms, ComEd says its priority is to restore critical facilities such as police and fire stations, nursing homes and hospitals first, followed by work that will restore power to the greatest number of customers.
ComEd urges customers to contact the company immediately if they experience a power outage. Customers can text OUT to 26633 (COMED) to report an outage and receive restoration information. The utility's interactive outage map is available on its website at ComEd.com/map.
Stay tuned to the NBC 5 app throughout Saturday's weather event, with live Doppler 5 radar, the latest updates on the storms and much more.