Chicago Weather: Falling glass, debris reported around Loop

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Glass and debris fell around the Loop and power lines popped and snapped across the Chicago area Wednesday due to high winds.

Chunks of glass rained down from the 38th floor of the Bock 37 building on North Dearborn between Washington and Randolph around 1:30 p.m. There are also offices and residences in the building above the entertainment complex. The back window of a moving car was hit, but the driver was not hurt. The driver was headed north, but was somehow able to pull over after her window shattered. A two-block stretch of Dearborn was temporarily closed between Lake and Washington for the cleanup.

"It's pretty crazy for something to drop out of the sky like that. It's not something you think about happening as you're walking down the street," said Sarah Welch, Loop pedestrian.

"There was no damage to anything except for the rear window of that car. No injuries here on the street, street level. We've taken every precaution by cordoning off the area. Because of the winds, we have a pretty expanded area that we're cordoning off," Dist. Chief Brian Helmold, Chicago Fire Dept., said.
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Glass and debris fell around the Loop and power lines popped and snapped across the Chicago area Wednesday due to high winds.

Another driver on the city's Northwest Side also narrowly escaped injury Wednesday when a tree toppled onto his car in the 5300-block of North Kedzie. There was heavy damage to the rear of the sedan, but that driver was able to walk away.

A steel beam also reportedly fell from a building under construction at 220 W. Hubbard. The beam reportedly fell from the 18th floor and landed on an unoccupied car. Hubbard was also temporarily closed during the cleanup

In Greektown, broken glass littered the street near Halsted and Adams after high winds propelled a piece of deck furniture into the window of a nearby building. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Wednesday was a blustery day, with gusts up to 60 mph some parts of the Chicago area.

The winds were strong enough to close the Skydeck at the Willis Tower. Thursday morning, ComEd said there were 3,000 customers without power in the northern region of Illinois. They said they restored over 100,000 customers throughout the day.

NIPSCO said there were about 300 customers without power as of Thursday morning.

Indiana State Police closed the Indiana Toll Road in both directions at mile marker 7.5 because of a power line that fell across the road. Westbound traffic was diverted at Cline Avenue and eastbound traffic was diverted at Calumet Avenue for a time. Truck drivers carefully dealt with the westerly winds.

"I just came from Idaho, so yeah. The wind pushed over about four tractor trailers on I-80 west," said Leroy Givens, truck driver.

A large tree branch fell on two cars in northwest suburban Bartlett Wednesday. The cars were parked at the Clare Oaks Retirement Community in the 800-block of Carillon Drive. Dylan Konchan, who shot the video, said no one was inside the cars. He said he did not believe anyone was hurt. He said the wind was blowing the branches around before he heard one snap.

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A large tree branch fell on two cars in northwest suburban Bartlett Wednesday.

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications notified city departments and agencies to be on alert Wednesday. Per city protocol when there are high winds, building inspectors were ready to respond to incidents that may occur. OEMC also reminded real estate and construction companies to secure their buildings and sites.

Heavy winds on Chicago's North Side Wednesday morning tossed a chain link fence like it was paper. Gates opened and closed on their own and stoplights swayed above intersections.

Construction workers, like Justin Watmough of A-1 Masonry, said they will be strapped into harnesses, wearing helmets and will definitely not going up high.

"Safety is a top priority. Especially with gale force winds like this," Watmough said. "You have to stay down, make sure things are tied up if you have scaffold, stuff like that. You also want to make sure your ground is cleared."

Wind kicked up sand along Lake Michigan and offered some extra resistance for bikers and runners.

"It was at my back heading to the lake, but I know it'll be rough heading home," said Michele McIntire, a runner.

Not bothered at all by these gusts? A few dogs enjoying some sunshine and exercise at North Avenue Beach, under the supervision of doggie au pair Sean Hunter, were not bothered at all by the strong winds.

"It's really windy, but the dogs love it. We're at the beach. What else can you ask for?" Hunter said.

The Chicago Aviation Department reported minor delays - O'Hare has 14 cancellations and Midway has two.

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