Strong Winds Continue Friday

Wind Advisory is in effect until 3 p.m. Friday for Chicago and the surrounding counties

A High Wind Warning that had been in effect until early Friday morning was pulled early, but that doesn't mean the windy conditions have completely moved out of the area.

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A Wind Advisory is in effect until 3 p.m. Friday for Chicago and the surrounding counties, with gusts of 45 to 50 mph hour possible.

The high winds that started Thursday afternoon have already been blamed for some damage and downed powerlines. More than 1,100 Commonwealth Edison customers were knocked offline early Friday morning. Downtown, a pane of glass fell free from the fourth floor of Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue.

Both O'Hare and Midway international airports shut down briefly Thursday evening because of dense fog and strong winds. Roughly 200 flights were grounded at Midway while more than 400 were canceled at O'Hare.

Thursday's fog was also blamed for a massive crash on Interstate 57 involving seven tractor trailers and approximately 12 vehicles.

A dense fog advisory expired at 7 p.m. Thursday. 

Steady rain, sometimes heavy with embedded thunderstorms, developed after 2 a.m. Thursday in counties southwest of Chicago before moving across the city in the pre-dawn hours. Showers continued into the morning but in a more scattered fashion.

A tornado was reported near the town of Arenzville, north of Springfield, just before 3 p.m.

Some locations did get freezing rain, sleet or snow, especially to the north and northwest of Chicago. Rainfall averaged 0.25 to 1 inch as of 10 a.m. 

That rain, coupled with the day's temperatures around 50 degrees, exacerbated flooding concerns. The Chicago area has seen nearly 70 inches of snow this winter, and all of that melting has to go somewhere.

Though no ice jams were reported by late Thursday morning, officials were keeping an eye on area rivers for blockages and rising waters. In the city, officials with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District said they took steps to make room for runoff water.

A Flood Watch was in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday for all counties in the NBC Chicago viewing area, and MWRD officials asked the public to reduce water use by postponing bathing or showering, running dishwashers and washing clothes.

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