By Bob Uphues
UPDATED: Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 9 a.m.
Less than 24 hours after estimating that hundreds of customers in North Riverside, Brookfield and Riverside might have to wait until Saturday to have power restored, ComEd reported it had made extensive progress in reconnecting electricity to most households in the area.
While more than 200,000 customers throughout ComEd's service area in northern Illinois remained without power Wednesday morning, the numbers were much better locally. Fewer than five customers in North Riverside remained without power as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, while there were 183 customers without power in Riverside and 230 in Brookfield.
In Riverside, outages are scattered throughout the village, with the largest concentration appearing to be along Northwood Road north of Delaplaine Road. In Brookfield, outages seem to be concentrated in South Hollywood, along Madison Avenue/Arthur Avenue near Grant Avenue and near Windemere and Elm.
Other, small-scale outages are scattered in various parts of Brookfield, both north and south of Ogden Avenue.
UPDATED: Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 2:26 p.m.
ComEd has made some progress restoring power in Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside, but wide swaths of the area, particulary the west end of North Riverside, remain without power. And now, ComEd is indicating many of those customers won't have power restored until Saturday, Aug. 15.
As of 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 11, ComEd was reporting that roughly 49 percent of North Riverside customers, some about 1,649 in all, were without power. Most of those customers, according to ComEd's power outage map, won't have power until Aug. 15.
Riverside had 618 customers still without power, about 16 percent of the village. Those customers, too, according to the online outage map, won't have power until Saturday.
In Brookfield, roughly 500 customers, about 6 percent of the village, were still without power. But ComEd's map indicates they'll also be waiting until Aug. 15 before power is restored.
ComEd has not immediately responded to the Landmark's inquiries regarding the firmness of the restoration time estimates on the online map.
More than 4,000 households in Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside remained without power on the morning of Aug. 11, more than 16 hours after a powerful storm with high winds blew through the area beginning around 4 p.m. on Aug. 10.
ComEd was reporting that more than 2,100 customers in North Riverside — some 64 percent of the village — remained without power Tuesday morning, and the utility's online outage map indicated that it had no time estimate for when power would be restored.
North Riverside was the hardest hit of the three villages with respect to power outages, but Riverside was hard hit as well, with 41 percent of electric customers, about 1,600 in all, still without power on Tuesday morning.
Outages were far less prevalent in Brookfield, where 464 customers, less than 6 percent of the village's ComEd customers, remained without power on the morning of Aug. 11.
ComEd was reporting on Tuesday morning that nearly 400,000 households remained without power due to the storm.
Scores of tree branches, including some of significant size, as well as some entire trees, blew down in the derecho, which recorded winds of up to 100 mph as it made its way across the Midwest from Iowa through the Chicago area.
"We have about three trees that will have to come down completely," said North Riverside Public Works Director Tim Kutt. "There are some big monster limbs."
Kutt said that a narrow corridor along 23rd Street seemed to be where the strongest winds blew through the village.
One large tree fell between two houses in the 2200 block of 10th Avenue, causing some damage to the aluminum siding of a house there. Another large tree, uprooted completely near the intersection of 2nd Avenue and 23rd Street, narrowly missed a house.
"It had to be some kind of microburst," Kutt said. "It hit really, really hard, and these weren't diseased trees. These were fully headed trees that just snapped."
Downed tree limbs were scattered everywhere throughout Riverside and Brookfield. One adult tree had fallen across the front lawn of the Coonley Playhouse, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed landmark on Fairbank Road in Riverside's First Division.
That property has had close calls before. In 2013, a 24-inch-diameter bitter-nut hickory in the front yard of the home snapped during a powerful storm and fell diagonally across the front lawn, taking out two other trees, but missing the house.
Riverside Village Forester Michael Collins said a crew had cleared one maple tree that had failed completely on Byrd Road in the northeast corner of the village and that there were large limbs down all around town.
"We don't have a full handle on it yet," Collins said Monday evening, "but all of the emergency stuff has been cleared."
Brookfield Village Forester Victor Janusz said a corridor of damage was evident roughly along Grant Avenue east from Eberly Avenue.
"It looks like it was pin-balling down Grant," Janusz said.
Large branches were blocking sidewalks and streets, he said, and a few large branches had fallen on parked cars.
The worst of the storm damage appears to have been located north of the BNSF tracks, with one of the worst incidents being damage to a large Bradford pear tree in the 3600 block of Cleveland Avenue.
The tree split down the middle, with one large branch blocking the sidewalk and another landing on the roof of a brick bungalow.
Janusz said he had two crews of about eight people driving through town picking up downed branches as they went and chipping larger limbs.
Allen Goodcase, a south end resident who has a weather station at his home, said the storm didn't amount to much near him. The strongest wind gust was 48 mph, he said, and the storm produced only three-quarters of an inch of rain.
"It was not as intense as I expected it to be," Goodcase said.