Violent Storm Downs Trees, Knocks Out Power

June 22, 2011

Just how long does frozen food last in a freezer without electricity?

More than 200,000 homeowners are asking that question today, after a storm that recorded 80 mph winds on Tuesday downed trees and cut power to more than 400,000 Chicago-area residents.

Commonwealth Edison is reporting that it could take several days to restore power to all its customer, though the company is hoping to get 90 percent of them up and running by midnight Thursday night.

Tree down during a Chicago stormAs of Wednesday afternoon, 200,000 customers have had their power restored while about 220,000 are still sitting in the dark.

The majority of the outages are in the northern suburbs, where about 158,000 customers remain without power. Approximately 3,700 are without electricity in Chicago; 37,000 in the western suburbs and 19,000 in the south suburbs.

This is the worst outage since last June, when storms knocked out power to more than 300,000 residents.

There is virtually nowhere in the Chicago area you can go without seeing tree limbs scattered throughout the streets. If you see a downed power line, always assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Don’t touch it, but call ComEd at (800) 334-7661 to report it.

Metra officials have spent the days clearing tracks of trees and debris, but that didn’t stop trains from being stranded or delayed. In addition, some stations are without power, so ticket agents are unable to sell tickets. Visit metrarail.com for more information.

There are also street lights out throughout the suburbs, so use caution and expect your drive to take longer.

Back to the freezer question. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer; a half-full freezer will keep your stuff frozen for about 24 hours. Make sure to keep the doors closed to the freezer and refrigerator as much as possible.

To report a power outage in your Chicago-area home, call (800) EDISON-1 or visit ComEd.com.

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