Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation for all Illinois counties after a winter storm blanketed the state, urging all residents to conserve energy and avoid unnecessary travel.
“The extreme arctic temperatures affecting more than ten states add additional stress on utility providers across the nation,” the governor’s office said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
Approximately 7,000 Illinois households were without power as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. That number is expected to fluctuate as the strain of arctic temperatures and extreme weather continues.
The National Weather Service reported varying amounts of snow in Lake and McHenry counties. In Highwood, 15.6 inches of snow was recorded in the past two days.
5.4 inches was reported in Buffalo Grove, 4.1 inches in Hawthorn Woods, 3.9 inches in Mundelein, 2.9 inches in Lindenhurst, and 2.2 inches in Fox Lake Hills.
McHenry County received less snow than Lake County, with around two inches reported in Bull Valley, 2.2 inches in Huntley, and two inches near Harvard.
Pritzker said he encourages all residents to take appropriate measures in conserving energy in order to alleviate stress on the nation’s grid.
“I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather,” Pritzker said.
“We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations. We are also working with our federal partners to pursue federal assistance to help communities recover and to do what we can to protect ratepayers from soaring utility bills,” he said.
Pritzker also urged all residents to “take this extreme weather seriously” and avoid all unnecessary travel. He also recommended everyone check in on their neighbors.
Extreme weather has resulted in frozen wells in key natural gas-producing states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The sub-zero temperatures are resulting in increased demand and decreased supply, causing natural gas prices to spike.
Utility companies across the nation are reporting soaring wholesale costs, which could result in higher utility bills for Illinois residents in the coming weeks if there is no federal intervention, the governor’s office said.
“Proper home heating is a critical issue during the winter months, and over time has proven deadly for many families,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.
“If using an alternative heating source during this extreme weather, take a moment to ensure that your carbon monoxide detector is working properly. The proper safety precautions can save lives during extreme weather,” Tate-Nadeau added.