As parts of the Chicago area brace for the potential for severe storms Friday, ComEd said it is adding crews to prepare for possible outages from the storms.
The company said with high wind gusts of up to 55 mph in the forecast, along with heavy rain, power outages are possible.
"When responding to power outages caused by storms, ComEd’s priority is to restore critical facilities such as police and fire stations, nursing homes and hospitals first, followed by restoring areas with the greatest number of customers," the company said.
Showers are expected to develop later Friday afternoon and evening, but as the rain moves in, so too does the threat for potentially severe weather.
With temperatures warming from the 40s to near 60 degrees late in the evening, some locations could see storms that threaten to bring damaging wind gusts of up to 50 mph, heavy rain and possibly an isolated, brief tornado.
McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, DuPage, LaSalle, Kendall, Cook and Will counties in Illinois and Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana are all under a wind advisory that continues until 3 p.m. Saturday.
Across the Chicago area, the threat for severe storms differs. Areas south of Interstate 80 are under the slight risk for severe weather, while those north of I-80 are under the lesser marginal risk for severe weather.
Any storms that develop would likely impact the far southern suburbs and parts of northwest Indiana, according to forecast models.
A lot will have to do with which direction the Jetstream pushes the storm system Friday as it approaches the Midwest. Areas of southern Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee will all be under an “enhanced threat” of severe weather, with tornadoes likely in those areas, but if the system pushes southward toward the southern suburbs, then thunderstorms could be more likely to fire in the evening hours.
Should severe storms move in, they likely wouldn't arrive until Friday evening, with the threat lingering from 8 p.m. into the overnight hours Saturday.
That weather system could potentially stick around into Saturday morning, and a drop in temperatures could lead to some light snowfall around the area if that occurs.
That snow would be blown around by increasingly strong winds, some of which could gust up to 50 miles per hour. That will be the primary threat for the area on Saturday, with temperatures dropping throughout the day as the weekend gets underway.
ComEd recommends customers who do experience power outages take the following precautions:
- 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.
- 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 and can follow the company on Twitter @ComEd or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ComEd. Customers can also call 1-800 EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661), or report outages via the website at ComEd.com/report. Spanish-speaking customers should call 1-800-95-LUCES (1-800-955-8237).
The NBC 5 Storm Team will follow the developing weather on Friday morning, and will have more details on just how the storm system will approach the Chicago area.