HARVEY, Ill. — ComEd says 96,000 customers are still without power across the south suburbs Wednesday after a powerful “derecho” storm crossed the area Monday.
While ComEd says it’s working as fast as possible to restore electricity, nearly the entire city of Harvey — a suburb with a population of 25,000 — is dark.
Up and down the residential streets in Harvey, uprooted trees caused damage to property and trouble with transportation.
But the major problem is the power is still out Wednesday after massive poles and power lines were knocked down during Monday’s destructive storm.
Alvin Noble was outside of his home in Harvey when the storm rolled in like crashing thunder, saying it sounded like a “locomotive” before a moment of silence.
“It just got calm, and the next thing you know you see this debris cloud spinning behind the homes, so I grabbed him and we went in the garage,” Noble said.
When the clouds emerged, he said there was destruction around every corner as entire electricity poles were toppled like toothpicks.
Some were still leaning like kickstands about to give out, as wires were twisted into a mangled mess, branches blocked streets. Even mature trees had been cracked in half.
“That Was Mother Nature, you can’t blame nobody on that,” resident Willie Payne said.
Two days later, almost nobody has power and traffic lights are out at busy intersections, as people are gassing up generators.
ComEd couldn’t provide statistics for Harvey specifically, but residents estimated 90 percent of the city could be without electricity as of Wednesday.
“All I can tell you is about my neighborhood: nobody has lights,” Payne said.
At 150th Street and VineAvenue, Shirley Thomas-Moore says the block sustained severe damage but she’s worried about the power situation.
Her mother and father are both in their 80s, and are in need of oxygen back at home after recovering from COVID-19.
“How long can she go without the oxygen with no power? Right now there is a portable generator, but you can only plug so much into it,” Thomas-Moore said.
Elsewhere, Johnathan Day was grilling steaks Wednesday as he tried to eat his food before it went bad.
“The electricity pole broke in half, so our lines are down,” Day said. “Emptying out my refrigerator, and my freezer, trying to serve some of the meat that I have and stuff – preserve it and eat it otherwise it’s going to go to waste.”
ComEd workers were out trying to fix what they could as fast as they could Wednesday.
ComEd said 1,400 workers are coming from out-of-state to assist in the effort to get the region up and running again but it could take several days if not weeks to restore power to this south suburban city.