Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for all Illinois counties in response to the winter storm that has brought accumulating snow, dangerous wind chills, and power outages.
“I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker in a news release. “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. I urge all Illinoisans to take this extreme weather seriously, avoid all unnecessary travel and check in on your neighbors.”
As of 10:30 a.m. today, around 7,000 households within the state did not have power, according to the news release.
Possible Spike in Utility Bills
Extreme weather has caused 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 higher wholesale costs, and without federal intervention those increased prices could result in higher utility bills for Illinois residents in the coming weeks.
Neighbors Help Neighbors
Over the course of the next few days, Governor Pritzker encourages all Illinoisans to check on their neighbors, especially elderly ones who may need assistance.
According to the news release, statistics show 46 percent of people expect to rely on neighbors for help within the first 72 hours after an emergency or disaster. The state recommends if you’re not able to get in touch or are worried about a neighbor to contact the police department. You can call the Naperville Police Department to arrange for a non-emergency wellness check with someone you may be concerned about.
The governor also encourages taking measures to safely conserve energy. Here are some tips from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Winterize your home to extend your fuel supply by:
- Insulating walls and attics
- Caulking and weatherizing doors and windows
- Hang blankets over windows at night but let the sunshine in during the day
- Cover cracks around doors with rugs, newspapers, towels or other such material
- Stay indoors in a heated room as much as possible
- If you have no heat, close doors and vents in unused rooms and shut the door
- Turn down your home’s thermostat just a few degrees and bundle up with layers or a thick blanket
- Lower the temperature on your home water heater a few degrees
- Avoid using large appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers
- Reverse your ceiling fan to turn clockwise, producing an updraft that will move the warm air that collects near your ceiling down to the rest of the room
- If using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
More tips for staying safe at home and on the road are available in a winter weather preparedness guide.
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