Power outages reported in McHenry County as temperatures hit record lows

Temperatures, windy conditions cause outages across the county

More than 1,900 customers were without power after historically cold temperatures hit McHenry County on Wednesday, a ComEd spokesperson said.

More than 600 outages were reported in the city of McHenry alone, and more than 100 outages were reported in the Bull Valley area, according to ComEd’s outage map and city officials.

Most areas had power restored by 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

McHenry County remained under a wind chill warning Wednesday morning. The temperature was minus 25 degrees about 8:15 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. It climbed to about 15 degrees below zero Wednesday afternoon.

ComEd spokesman John Schoen said most of the outages were a result of the cold temperatures or windy conditions Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

In the Chicago suburbs, representatives observed tree branches hitting power lines, downed transformers and rolling outages, he said.

“The cold is uncomfortable and really not safe, and we’re doing everything we can to get the power up,” Schoen said.

In response, city officials opened City Hall, 333 S. Green St., as a 24-hour warming center.

McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett posted on Facebook that the McHenry Downtown Theater, 1208 N. Green St., and the McHenry Police Department,
333 S. Green St., also would be available Wednesday as warming centers.

Jett said the theater was opened to give children and families a more comfortable space to warm up, but it only would serve as a warming center until power was restored. The police department, which is part of the McHenry Municipal Center, will be a 24-hour shelter.

“It’s great to see the community come together,” Jett said.

Barbara Papisan lives out of her car and splits her time between Public Action to Deliver Shelter organizations in McHenry and Lake counties.

After finding out about City Hall’s availability as a warming center, she said she was grateful to the police and city staff for providing a place she could seek shelter.

“It’s really been a godsend,” Papisan said.

Had she not known about the warming centers in McHenry, Papisan said, she probably would have tried to stay in an area Walmart, which isn’t always a guarantee.

Because of electrical problems, Route 120’s eastbound lane at Crystal Lake Road and westbound lane at Borden Street were blocked for several hours Wednesday, according to a Nixle alert from McHenry police.

Motorists were advised to use alternate routes. One eastbound lane of Route 120 reopened about 11:30 a.m., police said.

“McHenry police and fire departments, along with ComEd, are working on an electrical issue in the area. ComEd is aware power is out in several areas; however, please still report your outage directly to ComEd for their accurate tracking,” McHenry police said in the alert. “If you have to travel this area, please use an alternate route.”

There were 140 customers affected by power outages near Bull Valley, according to ComEd’s outage map. Power was expected to be restored by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Crystal Lake police said in an alert sent about 6:35 a.m. Wednesday that drivers should avoid Walkup Avenue from Route 176 to Woodstock Street for railroad crossing repairs. The road was reopened Wednesday afternoon.

The anticipated record-breaking temperatures caused McHenry County schools and many government buildings to close Wednesday and Thursday.

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