HARVEY, Ill. — Nearly the entire city of Harvey remains without power Thursday after Monday’s powerful derecho storm caused damage across the region.
Trees and power lines blown down by the storm caused severe damage to homes and blocked roads in the south suburban city. According to the National Weather Service, 60 mph winds were reported in nearby Thornton and an EF-0 tornado touched down in nearby Park Forest during the storm.
As power lines went down, the storm knocked out power for 95 percent of ComEd customers in Harvey, the company said. As of Thursday morning, 80 percent were without power, and that number dropped to 75 percent by the evening.
ComEd representatives said crews are now working around the clock to get lines back up, focusing on parts of the community which need it most.
Ernestine Davis was in her senior living center apartment when the storm started to brew.
“I’ve never seen it like this before and like I said I’ve been here almost 14 years,” Davis said. “All of a sudden, about four o’clock Monday evening it was just like a ‘woof’ and there the rain was.”
Davis and the other seniors in the nursing have been without power for three days and counting.
“We are hoping things will come together so we can go back into our apartments and start our lives again as it was before,” Davis said.
Harvey Mayor Christopher Clark says the city has been out trying to clear up as much as possible, as he works to cut trees and branches himself.
“It’s important to understand that the devastation that has taken place here in the city of Harvey is unlike anything that has happened,” Clark said.
Clark said there are concerns people who are on public assistance are losing food in their fridges and freezers as they remain without power. The Red Cross will be coming to town Thursday, offering meals for those in need.
Chicago and Cook County officials are also stepping up to offer aid including generators, Clark said, so power can be restored to senior homes, city hall, and the fire and police departments.
“With the resources that we have, those resources have always been on the ground from the city perspective. Now from outside the city that’s a whole ‘nother issue. Those boots got here this morning,” Clark said.
ComEd said at its height after Monday’s storm, 850,00 people were left without power but it has been restored for about 90 percent of people.
The company said there’s a lot of cleanup to do before they start restoration, but they believe nearly everyone should have their power restored by Friday evening. But some in the hardest-hit areas in Harvey and beyond may be without power through the weekend.
Some Harvey residents said say they’ve been told they could be without power until Saturday at least. They’re hoping mother nature is good to them until then.
While they’re surrounded by darkness, many continue to look on the bright side.
“I would say we are blessed, we are blessed, yes we are,” Davis said.