Illinois weather varied widely Wednesday, with an ice storm in the north and tornado watch down south
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands of people in the Chicago area remain without power after a winter storm brought heavy rain and ice to the area.
The weight of the ice brought down trees, power lines, blocked streets and made roadways slick and dangerous.
Several schools closed Thursday due to the weather.
The roads in the north suburbs were much better early Thursday morning than they were Wednesday, as crews were out overnight spreading salt.
Those without power are mainly north and northwest of the city. As of 9:45 p.m. a ComEd spokesperson said 26,000 customers are still without power and 88% of the outages have been restored.
Crews are working to restore power to customers as quickly as possible. ComEd said most will have power restored by Thursday night, but some may have to wait until Friday or possibly early into the weekend. ComEd has brought in additional crews from Southern Illinois and Kentucky to help with the restoration.
In Round Lake Beach, Carlos Chavez's Ring camera captured a scary near miss, when the storm brought down tree limbs in his front yard. A person was walking just feet away.
And Mary Kopterski and her 13-year-old dog spent the night trying to stay warm as the temperature inside her house dropped to 50 degrees by morning.
"We were up until three in the morning trying to deal with everything," she said. She was about to leave for her daughter's house when her power was restored. "I hate that this happens every so often here. It's really hard. I've lost a lot of things because of this."
Some homeowners, like Hilary Draper in Lake Bluff, spent the night with no lights.
"Well, we had candles, and we had some flashlights, and that kind of thing and a little table lights that turn on electrically," Draper said.
On Thursday morning, homeowners were happy to see ComEd crews pull up, after Wednesday's winter weather coated everything in sheets of ice.
"Every tree had ice; every bush had ice. And they started coming down," said Blake Berube, who was helping his parents in Lake Bluff.
The power in parts of Lake Bluff went out at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, and, on Thursday morning, generators could be heard buzzing.
Sean Smith's family doesn't have one, so they tried to keep warm the old fashioned way.
"We've been hanging in there, dressing warmly, lots of blankets, so we're glad to see ComEd is here," Smith said.
On Thursday, Lake County thawed out, the thick coating of ice melting into puddles.
The morning commute brought ghostly conditions, with heavy fog blanketing the roadways. Some motorists said it was still an improvement.
"It just looks like everything has melted. It's a little bit warmer, but it's a lot of fog right now, so it looks like it's a little bit safer than yesterday," Dancho Navarrov said.
Over 70 flights were canceled at O'Hare as of about 5:30 a.m., and 17 were canceled at Midway. Flight delays were less than 15 minutes at Midway and 16 minutes at O'Hare.
By contrast, in downstate Illinois, temperatures were in the 70s, with a tornado watch in effect Wednesday, ABC7 Chicago meteorologist Larry Mowry said.
Temperatures warmed Wednesday night into Thursday, with temps close to 50 degrees Thursday morning. Temperatures are expected to fall again the afternoon. Gusty winds are expected.
Friday will be a cold, blustery day with a high of 28 degrees. A few flurries are possible Friday night.
Stick with ABC7Chicago.com and the ABC7 AccuWeather Team for the latest updates on the winter storm.