Wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour wreaked havoc across the Chicago area on Thursday, with thousands of residents losing power and tree damage reported in numerous communities across the region.
In addition, residents were being warned to stay in the lower-levels of their homes, and to avoid windows as the wind gusts whipped across the area.
The gusty winds are occurring as a result of a cold front that moved through the area Wednesday, with high winds and cooler temperatures being left behind in its wake.
A high wind warning was issued by the National Weather Service, with gusts of nearly 60 miles per hour reported in several locations, including at Chicago’s Midway Airport.
Officials also warned of hazardous travel conditions on north-south roadways, with high-profile vehicles susceptible to tipping over because of the gusty winds.
Residents are being warned to avoid forested areas, and to take caution around trees and branches. They’re also being urged to remain in the lower levels of homes, and to avoid windows whenever possible.
Tree branches have also been damaged by the high winds, including one large branch that fell onto a car in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, according to the National Weather Service.
Power companies are also working extra hours to try to keep up with lines and equipment damaged by the ferocious winds, with thousands of residents losing power Thursday afternoon.
At one point, more than 9,000 Illinois residents were without power, but ComEd is slowly trimming that number down, with 5,716 customers without power as of 5 p.m.
Outages remain ongoing in Indiana, with NIPSCO saying that more than 8,000 customers are without power as of 5 p.m. Central time.
Wind gusts are expected to continue through the early evening hours, with a high wind warning in effect until 7 p.m. for Illinois and northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.
Gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour are possible, but winds will begin to calm later in the evening, according to forecast models.