Thousands of ComEd customers without power during polar vortex

Thousands of customers were without power in the midst of a brutal, dangerous cold snap in the Chicago area.

A total of 7,256 outages were reported as of 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, according to ComEd’s power outage map. Of those, 2,992 were in Cook County and fewer than five were in Chicago.

Lake County was reporting 1,327 outages, while DeKalb County had 624, Kankakee County had 417, Will County had 272 and McHenry County had 143, ComEd said.

More than 500 ComEd and contractor crews have been working through the night and had already restored service to more than 42,000 customers by 10:30 a.m., according to a statement from the utility company.

ComEd has deployed warming buses in the Gresham neighborhood and south suburban Robbins, and has additional buses on standby for other affected customers, the company said.

“The extreme cold can create very challenging conditions for customers and our crews, who are working around the clock to restore service,” ComEd President and Chief Operating Officer Terence R. Donnelly said in the statement. “We strongly recommend that our customers take whatever precautions are necessary to stay safe.”

The cold struck Chicago transportation Wednesday morning too, with more than 1,600 canceled flights and limited rail service. The National Weather service says the actual temperature was 23 below zero at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Wind chills in northern Illinois were as low as 57 below in Rockford.

Officials have warned against venturing out into the dangerously cold weather and the governor has issued a disaster proclamation.

The South Shore Line suspended its commuter rail trips Wednesday and said it expected limited service Thursday. Extreme weather conditions earlier prompted Amtrak to cancel all trains into and out of Chicago on Wednesday and most services to or from Chicago on Thursday.

Some major Chicago attractions weren't open Wednesday and schools are closed.