Wind, Rain Keep Hold of Chicago

High Wind Warning due to expire at 10 a.m., and rain should taper off Thursday afternoon

By Lisa Balde
|  Thursday, Oct 20, 2011  |  Updated 7:18 AM CDT
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Huge Waves Knock Down LSD Bikers, Runners

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Towering Waves Spotted Along Lakeshore

Huge waves crashed on the shores of Chicago's 31st and 47th Street beaches Wednesday morning ahead of afternoon warnings of 20- to 25-foot waves.
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Strong winds and rain left 3,100 ComEd customers without power Thursday morning, including 2,200 in Chicago.

Inclement weather also forced O'Hare Airport to cancel 175 flights and passengers to sleep in cots overnight. Boats were blown loose in Chicago harbors, causing damages that the Chicago Marine Unit says could add up to millions of dollars.

The Morton Salt Girl even took a tumble. Wednesday's high winds knocked down the massive Morton Salt billboard that's visible from the Kennedy Expressway.

"Today's weather can cause serious injury if not taken seriously and the recommended precautions are ignored," OEMC Executive Director Gary Schenkel said in a statement encouraging extreme caution.

The OEMC made similar warnings Thursday, asking runners and bikers to steer clear of the water's edge.

Wind, rain and towering waves continued Thursday, hours before a High Wind Warning was due to expire at 10 a.m. along the lakefront.  A Lakeshore Flood Warning continues until 4 p.m.

Gusts could still approach 60 mph in the morning then taper off to between 20 and 30 mph as large waves slowly diminish, according to NBCChicago's Andy Avalos.

Rain also is expected to slowly subside and end in the afternoon. By Thursday night, skies should clear, while breezy, still-cold temperatures continue overnight with areas of frost developing inland where temps will drop into the lower 30s.

Sunshine returns Friday, and while it likely will be chilly in the morning, highs rise to the mid-50s and hold there for much of the weekend.

Be careful out there, but if you see wind damage and can snap a photo, please share it with us: isee@nbcchicago.com.

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