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Sandy's impact here – expect high winds

Published: Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 4:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 7:05 a.m. CDT

John Schoen doesn’t know how long the ComEd and contractor crews that left for Philadelphia and Baltimore on Saturday will be needed to help clean up the wake of the East Coast storm known as Sandy.

The ComEd spokesperson guessed it will be at least a few days.

“They’re prepared to stay as long as they’re needed,” he said.

Sandy – the storm that had reached hurricane level and was expected to reach landfall – was expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding over a large area as well as snowfall to more limited areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Locally, there will be some impact. The western suburbs should experience increasing winds, said Richard Castro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Winds were expected to pick up Monday afternoon and reach their peak today with 30 to 35 mph gusts, Castro said. Wednesday should continue to be breezy, he said, but the gusts won’t be as strong.

J.D. Rodriguez, 12, of Batavia and his father, Daron Rodriguez, were waiting out the storm Monday on the 21st floor of a 49-story apartment building in New York City. J.D. has been rehearsing in New York City for the Broadway production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical.” The production is set to open Monday.

“They are a block away from an area that got evacuated,” said J.D.’s mother, Stacey Rodriguez. “I’m worried about the wind. The wind is the one part I am uncomfortable with. The building is totally creaking. I think they designed it to do that, but it’s an unsettling sound.”

News outlets are reporting the storm might cause more than $6 billion in damage and could knock out power to as many as 10 million people for a week.

ComEd sent about 700 people total to support its sister utilities in Philadelphia and Baltimore in efforts to restore power, Schoen said, noting the work could include clearing fallen trees.

“Once the storm’s passed,” he said, “they’ll do a damage assessment and hit the streets as soon as it’s safe.”

The American Red Cross is encouraging people outside the affected areas to donate blood, as the storm has canceled blood drives across the regions hit by the storm, spokesperson Martha Carlos of the Greater Chicago chapter said. Schedule an appointment at www.redcrossblood.org.

Donations are being accepted by visiting at www.redcross.org, by calling 800-733-2767 and by texting REDCROSS to 90999. Each text is a $10 donation.

“When we ask for help, usually the public is kind and helps us,” Carlos said.

She said disaster relief workers and feeding trucks also are being sent to the East Coast. Those wanting to volunteer during the next disaster should contact their local Red Cross chapter, she said.

• Reporter Eric Schelkopf contributed to this report.

• Reporter Eric Schelkopf contributed to this report.

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