Heavy thunderstorms last night knocked out power to an undetermined number of Evanston residents and left a number of streets littered with downed tree limbs.

City forestry crews were at work this morning in the 2800 block of Harrison Street and at other locations around town cleaning up after the storm.

City officials at 8 a.m. said about 1,000 Evanston customers were still without electric service, but ComEd expected to have all service in the city restored by later this morning.

A map provided by city officials indicated that power outages were concentrated in the northwest and northeast sections of Evanston as well as along the lakefront south of Dempster Street.

Update 4:40 p.m.: Northwestern University officials this afternoon reported that 43 buildings on the Evanston campus were still without power as a result of the storm, but some were operating with backup generators. Most of the affected buildings were dorms. Academic, research and most administrative buildings do have power and the university remains open for business.

Across the metro area about a 250,000 ComEd customers lost power during the storm.

The city’s utility director, Dave Stoneback, says that as a precautionary measure the water plant switched to natural gas engines as the storm developed, but power to the plant was not lost, and the pumps were placed back on electric service at 2 a.m.

Top: A forestry crew at work in the 2800 block of Harrison Street. Above: Traffic cones mark downed limbs awaiting pickup in the 2500 block of Noyes Street.

The storm also halted service on the CTA  Yellow Line because of power failures to crossing gates. CTA officials suggested that commuters use the #97 bus route instead.

It also left traffic signals at some Evanston intersections out of service — including those at Crawford Avenue and Gross Point Road and at Gross Point and Central Street.

And the storm knocked down many of the Fourth of July flags attached to light poles along Central Street.

Ryan and Ian Elgar, visiting from Seattle, help their grandfather, EvanstonNow reporter Charles Bartling, clear debris from last night’s thunderstorm.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Why same area lose power ?

    Other people probably notice similar situations in there areas, BUT every time there is a storm that takes out power in my area, there is a very clear line.  The west side of Jackson and west and south side of Rosalie and south, always keep power while those areas east of Jackson and north of Rosalie to Isabella lose power for long periods.   You would think ComEd and even the city would recognize that there is a pattern [ComEd has been told many times] and find the problem.  I biked around this effected area and did not see any meaningful tree damage or wire damage and a woman by the Isabella transformer said she heard no sounds from it and saw no ComEd activity.

    This was the longest outage I recall in over 15 years including the El Nino storms of the early 90s and the faux tornado of five(?) years ago—-at least for those south of Livingston.

  2. tnx to EvanstonNow for the outage map

    It's when trouble hits that news sources prove their worth – thanks to EN/Bill for the ComEd power outage map that answers what every resident wants to know – where did it hit? Our lights flickered quite a bit but held. I see on the map that our building is right on the border of an outage area – whew, lucky…this time.

  3. contracting out

    Isn't it nice that the city has their own forestry crews for just such emergrncies. What if we were under contract  from a private firm? Do you think service would be as quick and responsive as it is with our own dedicated forestry department. I hardly think so as we didn't sustain as much damage as some of the surrounding suburbs and would be low on a priority list. Thanks Forestry and all city workers!

    1. What do they do other times?

      If having our own forestry service for an emergency like we had, means that if they can handle it, then what do they do at other times ?  Have they staffed at a level to handle any emergency—if so are we paying to have those workers on hand but not doing anything ?

      One benefit of contracting is you can pull staffing from many areas.  Each of which may have a profitable staffing and not a larger [unprofitable] 'reserve' for workers never/rarely needed.   A city can then put out a call and get workers from areas where there is not a current need which cannot be delayed.  


      1. What they do at other times

        Have you never seen one of the Forestry crews out trimming trees? What about all the trees they plant around town? Where have you been for the past several years? Try calling a contractor out in the middle of the night and see what the cost skyrockets to.

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