ComEd is preparing for potential power outages in the upcoming winter storm this weekend and encouraging residents to use caution.
The energy company said it is "closely monitoring and preparing for extreme weather, including the potential for thunderstorms, ice, snow and high winds, expected across northern Illinois on Friday and Saturday."
ComEd said it has opened its emergency operations center and will increase staffing and ready equipment should any power outages occur.
Across the Chicago area this weekend, everything from winter storm warnings to winter weather advisories to flood watches and warnings will be in effect.
So what should you do if your power goes out or your basement floods in the weekend weather?
- 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 energized and extremely dangerous.
- 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.
- Customers should call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661) to disconnect power before entering a flooded basement.
- Never wade into a flooded basement unless all electricity has been disconnected (such as power that supplies sump pumps, freezers, etc.). Water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Additionally, power may be restored while you are in the flooded basement and the motors on appliances may be submerged.
- Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so.
- Never operate electrical appliances or devices or touch electrical switches, outlets or cords if you are standing in water or are on a wet surface, or if you are wet.
- Be aware of any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water.
Officials are also warning of potentially dangerous road conditions.
The Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday urged motorists to allow extra time, plan ahead and “anticipate conditions to change suddenly with roads becoming extremely slick.”
“While IDOT is prepared for this unusual storm, driving will be hazardous this weekend. If it is not essential, please ask yourself if your trip can wait until conditions improve,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a statement. “If you must be on the roads, slow down, avoid distractions inside your vehicle and do not crowd our plows. In areas impacted by heavy rains, do not attempt to drive through flooded roads.”
Freezing rain, sleet and snow are all expected with the upcoming storm along with high winds, flooding and high waves, all of which could make travel even more hazardous.
“Flooding is a strong possibility throughout much of the state. Wet pavement in winter can freeze with little warning, creating treacherous driving conditions,” IDOT warned.
The department said it plans to have more than 1,800 trucks and equipment applying salt statewide.
As a result of the uncertainty with the weather, airlines are allowing passengers to waive change fees for flights over the weekend, including United, American, and Southwest Airlines.
This is a developing forecast. Check here for updates on the latest weather predictions from NBC 5 Storm Team meteorologists.