WBEZ | thunderstorms http://www.wbez.org/tags/thunderstorms Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Suburban officials lobby to uphold 'smart grid' veto http://www.wbez.org/story/suburban-officials-lobby-uphold-smart-grid-veto-93058 <p><p>Suburban government officials are calling on Illinois lawmakers to uphold the governor's veto of legislation backed by Commonwealth Edison.</p><p>Members of the Northwest Municipal Conference said the electric company should make improvements to its infrastructure and response systems that left thousands without power for days earlier this year. Wilmette village president Christopher Canning says those improvements must come before ComEd is allowed to raise rates for new “smart grid” technology.</p><p>“The communications problems, the reliability problems, the infrastructure problems exist and will not be solved by smart grid,” said Canning.</p><p>Members of the conference called ComEd's response to July's massive thunderstorms, which left more than 850,000 people without power, “abysmal”.</p><p>In September, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislation that would have allowed the state’s two electric utility companies to raise rates in order to make improvements to the power grid, dismissing it as a power grab.</p><p>ComEd insists a smart grid system is necessary to get customers back online quickly after outages and save money in the long run.</p></p> Tue, 11 Oct 2011 19:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/suburban-officials-lobby-uphold-smart-grid-veto-93058 Forecast calls for heavy rain and better flood protection http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-27/forecast-calls-heavy-rain-and-better-flood-protection-89697 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/5890122384_e3ed0a8d33_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The last month is on track to be one of Chicago's wettest Julys on record. For folks with flooded homes and businesses that’s obvious but where and when the next flood willl occur is not quite as clear. Mike Bardou with the<a href="http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/" target="_blank"> National Weather Service</a> in Romeoville, Illinois explained that rain is just rain –there’s no rhyme or reason to where it hits hardest. Rain is in Chicago's forecast through the Friday, so to find out more about what can be done to combat flooding, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke to Tom LaPorte, assistant commissioner of the City of Chicago’s <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/water.html" target="_blank">Department of Water Management</a>.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-27/forecast-calls-heavy-rain-and-better-flood-protection-89697 Storms knock out power, cause travel delays; ComEd says restoration could take days http://www.wbez.org/story/storms-knock-out-power-cause-travel-delays-comed-says-restoration-could-take-days-88963 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-11/medilltree_Marc Zarefsky.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than 500,000 customers are still without power Monday afternoon, after the most damaging storm system in more than a decade roared through northern Illinois this morning, leaving downed trees and debris in its wake.</p><p>The severe storms packed winds as high as 80 mph and wreaked havoc on the morning commute. As of&nbsp; 5 p.m. Monday, Commonwealth Edison Co. reported that crews were still out trying to get the power back on for 541,000 customers. The heaviest reported outages were in the northern suburbs.&nbsp;</p><p>“It has to do with downed power lines and other damage to our equipment. You know, this storm in particular brought with it some heavy rains, high winds and lots of lightening that struck our equipment and also, you know, struck trees that fell on our power lines, causing them to go down,” said Tony Hernandez with ComEd.</p><p>He also said that ComEd is hiring private contractors and workers from other states to help clean up.</p><p>The electric company said the storm system has affected at least 852,000 customers in all, though many have had their power turned back on. That makes it the most destructive storm since 1998.</p><p>The combination of power outages and high temperatures has city of Chicago officials working to prevent heat-related illnesses for people without air conditioning. Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says the city has received calls about outages from about a dozen buildings housing seniors, who are most at-risk during hot spells.</p><p>"In the upper floors of these buildings, it's not unusual, if you have 90 degrees of outside temperature, for the inside temperature in some of these buildings to rise well over 100 degrees," Langford said, adding that some buildings could be evacuated if the power remains out for too long and temperatures begin to climb.</p><p>Airlines at O’Hare International Airport were experiencing delays up to 90 minutes for in and outbound flights and canceled more than 200 flights, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.</p><p>At Midway International, airlines report a few delays between 30-90 minutes for in and outbound flights, with minor cancellations.</p><p>Service to the CTA Yellow Line was restored at 9:40 a.m. after a power outage.&nbsp; The Purple Line is experiencing delays, with service running on a single track. The Red Line was experiencing delays with debris on the elevated tracks that has since been cleared.&nbsp; The CTA had put shuttle buses in place at the time.</p><p>Metra saw major closures Monday morning as well. The Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West lines were shut down for several hours Monday morning because of high winds. All three lines went back into service around 9 a.m., but significant travel delays persist on all three lines.</p><p>The Chicago region will most likely be spared from another round of heavy storms, according to National Weather Service forecasts. But heat index values are expected to climb above 100 degrees Monday afternoon.</p><p>"The main story is gonna be the humidity values," said meteorologist Kevin Birk. "We've got very high humidity values. And because of that, it's gonna make the temperature feel very warm."</p><p>Temperatures are expected to drop into the 70s Monday night, with normal highs returning Tuesday.</p><p>The city of Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services is asking people to check on seniors, and to call 311 if they have a neighbor who needs help.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Department spokeswoman Anne Sheahan says use of the city’s six cooling centers Monday was light for a hot day. She says 32 people had arrived by 4 p.m.</p><p>Natasha Payton and 93-year-old grandfather appreciated the one in East Garfield Park.</p><p>“We used to have the air conditioner running,” Payton said Monday afternoon. “But nothing is on because the power [has been] out since 8:30 this morning. It’s stifling hot in the house.”</p><p>Sheahan says use of the cooling centers could be heavier Tuesday if ComEd has not restored electricity to most of the Chicago homes without it.<br> &nbsp;</p><p><iframe height="500" src="https://www.comed.com/sites/customerservice/Pages/OutageMap.aspx" width="600"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/storms-knock-out-power-cause-travel-delays-comed-says-restoration-could-take-days-88963 Thunderstorms leave thousands of Chicago area residents without power http://www.wbez.org/story/thunderstorms-leave-thousands-chicago-area-residents-without-power-88618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-01/5889833946_31fb5ace95.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The strong storms that pummeled northern Illinois knocked out power to 100,000 ComEd customers.</p><p>ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson says about 28,000 customers were still in the dark Friday morning. Johnson says the bulk of those are in Chicago's northern suburbs, where strong winds downed tree limbs and power lines.</p><p>About 370 ComEd repair crews were out Friday, working to repair the damage.</p><p>The storm pelted parts of northern Illinois, including Chicago skyscrapers, with golf ball-sized hail. And a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago says a gauge on the beach at Waukegan Harbor registered a hurricane-strength wind gust of 94 mph. Waukegan is about 40 miles north of Chicago.</p><p>In nearby Kenosha, WI, winds between 70 and 80 mph were reported in the area, knocking out power to more than 22,000 homes. Two people sustained minor injuries when they touched downed electrical wires, and one woman was struck by debris from a shed.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/thunderstorms-leave-thousands-chicago-area-residents-without-power-88618 Ill. officials urge people to take cover in storms http://www.wbez.org/story/ill-officials-urge-people-take-cover-storms-88197 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/71538876.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois construction worker who was struck by lightning last year has joined a statewide lightening safety awareness program.</p><p>Jim Ciulla of Lexington was working as a flagger with a road crew when he was struck on July 6.&nbsp;</p><p>He was treated for first- and second-degree burns and has lasting physical problems, including numbness in his feet and scarring.&nbsp;</p><p>He and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency are encouraging people to take cover during severe storms.&nbsp;</p><p>The program's slogan is "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors."&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Ciulla says nothing - including an outdoor job or sporting event- is worth the risk of getting struck by lightning.&nbsp;</p><p>Lightening Safety Awareness Week in Illinois runs through Saturday.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/ill-officials-urge-people-take-cover-storms-88197 ComEd: 10,000 Chicagoans without power after thunderstorms http://www.wbez.org/story/comed-10000-chicagoans-without-power-after-thunderstorms-87631 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-09/thunderstorms_Flickr_MT Falldog.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Heavy storms rolled through Illinois late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, knocking out power to thousands of residents. The outages included more than 10,000 customers in Chicago.</p><p>ComEd spokesman Bennie Currie reports that more than 59,000 Illinois customers reported outages early Thursday after the storms. The hardest hit area was near Crestwood, IL, where more than 29,000 customers were without power.</p><p>Currie says crews are out working to repair downed power lines.</p></p> Thu, 09 Jun 2011 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/comed-10000-chicagoans-without-power-after-thunderstorms-87631 Wednesday Weather http://www.wbez.org/story/wednesday-weather-86397 <p><p>Unseasonably warm temperatures and high humidity will continue in the Chicago area through Friday.</p><p>Samuel Shea is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says there's a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening. Shea adds, "The way the atmosphere is set up there is a possibility we could get some hail out of the thunderstorms. But generally the most severe storms should be staying to our west this afternoon."</p><p>Near O'Hare, temperatures are expected to stay in the mid to upper 80s through early evening -- just shy of the record high temperature for today of 89 degrees, set in 1982. The normal high for today is 68 degrees.</p></p> Wed, 11 May 2011 17:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/wednesday-weather-86397