Weather Chicago: High Wind Warning issued as damaging gusts hit area

Current wind speed Chicago: Gusts as strong as 60 mph recorded

Diane Pathieu Image
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Weather warning: High winds bring damage to Chicago area
Meteorologists are warning of weather alerts into Thursday morning, as high winds brought down trees in the Chicago area.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Power outages and downed trees were problems Wednesday night into Thursday morning, as high winds swept through the Chicago area.

There is damage all across the Chicagoland area: On Argyle Street, trees and branches snapped and came slamming down on cars below; in some cases, streets are blocked with large trees down in the road.

"Ya it was pretty nasty; it was a bunch of cars, and it sounded like a big crunch," said Tyler Wilsey, whose car was damaged. "And it was just like, 'oh man,' everyone on the whole block came outside to see what was going on."

Wilsey's car has damage to the windshield, both side mirrors, the hood and some front-end damage.

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The same damage can be seen across Evanston, where light poles and street signs are down.

And heavy winds pulled the aluminum from the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel downtown.

The powerful winds almost knocked people over as they tried to walk their dogs or head outside.

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So far there have been no reports of any serious injuries but there is a lot of mess to clean up.

At one point, 100,000 were without power, but as of later Thursday morning, more than 80% were back online.

WATCH: ComEd spokesman gives update on outages after high winds

A ComEd spokesman gave the latest on power restoration amid high winds.

"There is still a bit of high wind situation going on, so that affects some of our trucks, particularly our bucket trucks," ComEd spokesman Tom Dominguez said. "We have to be careful about sending them up in high winds, but what we are seeing right now, because a lot of the outages happened in the western and northwestern areas, there are a lot of big trees, so that takes a lot of time to clear."

Mount Prospect, Joliet and Elgin had more damage, ComEd said.

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More than 1,500 crews were out working to restore power.

The Chicago area braced for potentially damaging winds Wednesday, with gusts up to 60 mph, as a low pressure system bore down on northern Illinois.

Meteorologist Greg Dutra said this area did see wind gusts between 50 and 60 mph.

The Chicago area is bracing for potentially damaging winds, with gusts up to 60 mph, as a low pressure system bears down on northern Illinois.

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As of about 11:30 a.m., O'Hare has reported a total of 45 cancelations and Midway has six, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

A light pole crashed through at Canal and Van Buren streets early in the evening Wednesday; an Old Town tree crashed down onto a vehicle in the 1400-block of North Wells; and loose bricks on a vacant building at 56 E. Chicago Ave. brought out Battalion 1 from the Chicago Fire Department to manage the hazard.

Peak wind gusts, up to 60mph, expected between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Chicago also set a new record high Wednesday when O'Hare hit 65 degrees, breaking the old record of 64 set in 1971.

The last time there were 60s in December was on Dec. 26, 2019, when it hit 61 degrees. The last time it was as warm as 65 degrees at any point in December was Dec. 4, 2017.

Another record was set at midnight, when the temperature hit 66.

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