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Thousands Still Without Power After Storms

UPDATED 07/03/12 9:47 p.m.

WEST CHICAGO, Ill. (CBS) -- Thousands of homes and businesses across the Chicago area remained without power Tuesday, after a fast-moving round of storms on Sunday.

ComEd said as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, approximately 19,950 customers remained without power. The vast majority of those -- about 19,200 -- were in ComEd's northern region, including the northern, northwestern and near western suburbs, such as West Chicago, which was hardest hit by the storms. Only about 750 customers in Chicago were still without power, while there were no storm-related outages remaining in the southern and far western suburbs, according to ComEd.

More than 600 crews were working to restore service to customers still affected by Sunday's storm. Since Sunday, more than 300,000 customers have had power restored, according to ComEd.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Nancy Harty reports


But as WBBM Newsradio's Nancy Harty reports, some residents in the western suburbs still didn't have electricity as of Tuesday afternoon, and could be waiting much longer.

ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez said a handful of areas will not get their power restored until Thursday due to dangerous conditions caused by downed trees and power lines.

Lombard resident Ken Cornell doesn't have any downed trees or power lines in his yard from the storm, but his power has been out since Sunday afternoon.

"It's awful; it's as you would imagine it would be -- hot, sticky," he said. "I just have a generator I'm trying to run to keep the fridge and the freezer from dying."

Wheaton resident Kurt Vandoren is not as lucky. He doesn't have a generator.

"The deep freezer has 170 pounds of bad meat," he said.

He had to throw it all out. He lives on Jefferson Avenue on the north side of the city, which was hit pretty hard. There were three different crews cleaning up on the day before what was supposed to be a block party.

CBS 2's Pamela Jones reports a cavalry of ComEd trucks rolled into West Chicago on Tuesday afternoon, working to restore power to residents who were already fed up at having waited more than two days, sweating out the heat without air conditioning.

Joe and Wendy Mikson and their three sons have been roasting since losing power on Sunday.

"I'm just a little disappointed we haven't heard anything from them," Joe Mikson said.

"It's frustrating not having a deadline. I think knowing when the end is would help," his wife Wendy Mikson said.

There just hasn't been much for the family to do without electricity for more than two days – except sweat it out.

"Not watching TV, not playing video games," Wendy said of their kids.

Their thermostat reads 85 degrees inside, but it felt much hotter with all the humidity.

Luckily, they did have a working fan and refrigerator to store food, running off a generator in their back yard. They were also sharing the generator with two neighbors, generosity which has kept Joe running to the gas station to keep the generator running.

"I go to bed hot, wake up sweating, and then I go out and work during the day, and it's even worse out there, and you come home and there's no relief," he said.

At the height of the outages, more than 300,000 ComEd customers were without power.

The DuPage County town of West Chicago was among the hardest hit communities. Only 12 percent of homes and businesses in the town had power as of Sunday night, West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda said.

By Tuesday morning, 60 percent of homes and businesses in West Chicago had had their power restored, Pineda said.

"Right now, we're well over 60 percent restored, which is very good. Our whole south side and southwest side is restored. We did get our city hall back up today – actually last evening – so that's a good thing," Pineda said.

The city government had to move its operations to the police station when city hall lost power.

But while many customers have seen their power restored, numerous others – particularly on the north side of the town. Pineda urges neighbors to call city hall or dial 911 if they need assistance, given that the temperature is expected to ratchet up to 99 degrees on Tuesday.

On Monday, ComEd said full power restoration likely would not be complete for several days, since the storm had ripped down numerous trees and power lines and ComEd would have to repair the equipment before restoring electricity.

Tree and power line damage also hit West Chicago hard. Entire streets were blocked off with yellow tape and orange cones, as downed power lines made the streets too unsafe even to walk down. Pineda said in all, about 75 to 100 trees were uprooted by the storm.

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