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Blue Island woman weathering Hurricane Sandy ... so far

Alan Thompspoints list cancelled flights Midway Airport  due Hurricane Sandy Chicago IL Monday October 29 2012.   |

Alan Thompson points to a list of cancelled flights at Midway Airport due to Hurricane Sandy, in Chicago, IL on Monday October 29, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 1, 2012 6:21AM



Guadalupe Fernandez was feeling safe Monday afternoon in her Washington, D.C., apartment, but the Blue Island woman knew the worst from Hurricane Sandy was yet to come.

Fernandez, 20, is a junior studying international politics at Georgetown University.

Speaking Monday of what some have dubbed “Frankenstorm,” she said the public transportation system, public schools, federal offices, airports and Georgetown all were shut down and will remain closed Tuesday.

“The city is taking this very seriously,” she said.

So how do college students take it? With no classes to attend, Fernandez, her roommates and some friends were busy cooking — they enjoyed waffles Monday morning — and selecting which scary movies to watch with Halloween in mind.

As if Hurricane Sandy weren’t frightening enough.

“It started raining Sunday and it hasn’t stopped,” she said. “The winds are getting worse. The forecast is for 75-mph winds (Monday night) and said they’ll continue all night into (Tuesday) morning, when they get down to about 50 or so.

“Once in a while, you get a burst of strong wind,” she said,

The Potomac River is expected to crest over its banks, too, she said.

Although her apartment is a basement unit that’s only partially above ground, she’s not too worried about flooding because “the university is kind of on a hilltop,” she said.

She made an eyeopening visit to the local grocery store Sunday.

“The shelves were cleared off and there were huge lines,” she said. “We have food here. Maybe a day or two. We didn’t really stock up. We probably should have. Parts of the city are already without power.”

But she has been through this routine before.

“Last year, there was a lot of hype for Hurricane Irene and it turned out not being that big a deal. The last couple days, though, they’ve been giving us warnings and they’re taking it very seriously,” she said.

She wondered if fallen leaves may clog sewer grates and lead to flooded streets.

Further north, about 40 miles from Boston, Joel Brown, a former Country Club Hills and Lemont resident who lives in the coastal town of Newburyport, Mass., said the rain had been steady “but not torrential.”

“We’re on the north edge of (the storm). The winds are really ramping up. It’s pretty crazy. Gusts have been 30 to 40 mph,” said Brown, a former TV critic who worked for the Daily Southtown from 1986-96.

He and his wife live in a townhouse that is uphill from a river. They have no flooding worries “and should be OK if the roof holds up,” he said before excusing himself to “make a big pot of spaghetti sauce and batten down the hatches.”

Brown still had electricity Monday afternoon, but others may not be so fortunate.

With the storm expected to wreak havoc in other states, about 700 ComEd employees — including some from the Crestwood office — volunteered to travel to the East Coast and help two sister companies, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Philadelphia-based PECO, with any outages, ComEd spokesman John Schoen said. They headed east Saturday, he said.



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