Illinois Sending Relief Volunteers and Utility Crews East as Sandy Approaches

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Published on October 28 2012 1:25 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Wayne Moran

As Sandy bears down on the east coast, several Illinois agencies and companies are already mobilizing and sending personnel and relief efforts the to region, which could see widespread damage, flooding and power outages. Officials are warning that millions could be without utilities for days or several weeks, depending on Sandy's effect on the infrastructure.

Ameren Illinois is sending more than 100 employees as well as 100+ contractors to the east coast to aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This includes 50 linemen and support staff as well as 100 electric and forestry contractors. Ameren Missouri is sending more than 50 overhead linemen, safety, supervisory, fleet and logistic personnel.

Meanwhile, Chicago-based ComEd announced Saturday that it was sending over 240 utility crews totalling 700+ people to assist ComEd's sister utility companies in Philadelphia and Baltimore with anticipated blackouts from the storm.

The American Red Cross reports that it has sent eight more relief volunteers and a mobile feeding truck from its DeKalb, IL office to help assist victims of the hurricane.

More than 60 million people over an 800+ mile span are potentially in the path of the storm. Forecasters are already saying that Sandy has all the makings to be the most expensive storm on record. At some point, Sandy's expected to become what's known as an "extra-tropical" storm, then take a sharp turn back toward the east coast and eventually make landfall over Delaware or New Jersey.

As part of Sandy’s transition to an extra-tropical storm, it is expected to merge with a wintry system from the west, at which point it will become the powerful superstorm that has forecasters and officials on edge. Winds from that western system are what will help pull Sandy back toward the coast from the Atlantic ocean.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered New York City's transit service to suspend bus, subway and commuter rail service by 7pm Sunday. The city's mass transit system is the nation's largest, with the subway alone seeing daily ridership of more than 5 million people. Many retailers report that supplies of water, dry and canned goods and other non-perishable foods are flying off shelves as people prepare for the storm. Hardware stores and lumber retailers are struggling to keep plywood in stock as homeowners and businesses board up windows and doors in an effort to curtail Sandy's damaging winds, expected in some areas to exceed 100mph.

Officials are warning and bracing for the worst with what could be nearly a foot of rain, high winds and up to 2 feet of snow in the highest parts of the Appalachian Mountains from West Virginia to North Carolina. Storm and tidal surges are also a huge concern, especially in low-lying areas.