PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. — One week after damaging ice storms hit parts of northwest Illinois, communities in the southwest are now bracing for inclement weather. 

Keisha Parker, vice president of external affairs with ComEd, expects Friday’s weather system to be substantial, with wind gusts over 40 mph in some areas. 

“We’re expecting snow, it’s going to be heavy and that heaviness will weigh down on trees that will cause them to break and snap and cause damage to our line and equipment as well as other potential elements that will then produce outages,” Parker said.  

It’s why the utility company opened an operations center in Tinley Park to be ready for the storm’s possible impact.

“They are prepared to go out into the community and do what they normally do to safely restore any outages that might result,” Parker said.

ComEd has thousands of crews but has called in extra reinforcements as far as Kentucky and Pennsylvania ahead of the anticipated storm. Snow flurries have been falling in places like Palos Heights, but there hasn’t been any accumulation on the ground. 

According to the public works director, crews have not been dispatched yet but say if unsafe weather conditions arise, they have 10 regular snow plow trucks and six prepped with salt and brine…Ready to go. 

Michelle Plunkett picked up her kindergartner from Indian Hill School as classes were dismissed early before the snowstorm. 

“The kids are excited about the snow, so hopefully, we’ll get a little bit,” she said.  

Meanwhile, other southwest school districts canceled classes on Friday or moved to remote learning. 

Plunkett says while in-person classes weren’t called off for her son, she still appreciates District 128’s decision to have everyone head home at a reasonable time. 

“It could get dangerous and I know they have to travel to get to school,” she said.