Metra Warns of Delays Due to High Winds, Potential Severe Weather

As a powerful storm moves across the Midwest and threatens the Chicago area, Metra warned of potential delays if severe weather strikes.

The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook and a Wind Advisory for the Chicago area from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. Thursday. The high winds and possible stormy conditions could create delays and disrupt Metra service as commuters head home Wednesday.

A High Wind Warning is also in effect in northern Indiana from midnight to 9 p.m. Thursday, with gusts of 58 mph or more possible.

In anticipation of the incoming storms and high winds, the Indiana Toll Road also issued a wind ban for the entire length of the toll road beginning at midnight and lasting until 7 a.m. Thursday. Under the wind ban, all triple tractor-trailers, long-doubles and high-profile oversize loads will not be allowed to travel on the toll road, according to officials. All other vehicles will be permitted.

Construction work that was scheduled to take place overnight on the Lake Shore Drive "S" curve has been postponed until Sunday due to the impending storm as well.

O'Hare International Airport reports some arriving flights have been delayed an average of 1 hour and 51 minutes due to the weather conditions and wind. The airport also reported that 140 flights have been cancelled. 

Midway International Airport has only reported minor delays.

Inbound and outbound trains to Blue Island have been suspended over electrical wire problems near Ashland.

Delays will likely last all evening, said Metra spokesman Tom Miller. He added that the problems were most likely caused by weather.

Commuters have been advised to to use Rock Island District trains traveling to Blue Island. 

The storm is expected to produce wind gusts upwards of 50 mph, making it difficult for large vehicles to drive. Rain is expected to hit after the evening rush hour, with isolated showers beginning after 6 p.m. and growing stronger from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday issued an alert encouraging residents to stay aware of local forecasts and "be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued." 

Forecasters on Monday warned 63 million people in the central U.S. to have an eye out for bad weather this week as colliding air masses threaten to generate high winds and possibly tornadoes. Missouri, southern Illinois and northern Arkansas face the greatest severe weather threat.

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