77,000 Northern Illinoisans still in the dark after Monday's storm

July 14, 2011

(AP/File)

Nearly 80,000 people were still in the dark Thursday afternoon following strong thunderstorms earlier this week, with the vast majority of outages in the northern suburbs.

According to Commonwealth Edison, Waukegan, Gurnee and Crystal Lake are still experiencing substantial outages. City of Waukegan spokesman David Motley said in total, 83 percent of the homes there were knocked out. Motley said power in his own home wasn't restored until Thursday afternoon. He said things should be back to normal sometime this weekend.

In the meantime, librarians at the Waukegan Public Library are encouraging residents to come in, cool off and charge their laptops or cell phones. Children's librarian Sandy Sherwood said the library has been especially busy in the storm's wake.

She said it's normal to have patrons lining up outside before the library opens, but "it's not normal to see people sitting all the way along the hallway wherever there's an outlet to plug in their equipment. It's been a nice time, though, because parents - both mom and dad - have been coming in with their kids to the library."

Sherwood said she was one of the lucky ones not to lose power. She said she's heard stories of patrons who were forced to throw out all the food in their refridgerator.

In Crystal Lake, Police Chief David Linder said ComEd crews have been working around the clock to try and get things back to normal.

"In the 31 years that I've been here in Crystal Lake working, that definitely was the worst outage that I recall ever happening," Linder said.

According to ComEd, the quick-moving storm knocked out power for more than 800,000 people across the Chicago region. ComEd said the goal is to restore power to 95 percent of their affected customers by Thursday night.

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