Residents Urged to Avoid Lake Michigan Shore

20-25 foot waves possible near bike path

Chicago officials on Tuesday warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepared for high winds and waves resulting from Superstorm Sandy, which pounded the East Coast.

Office of Emergency Management and Communication Director Gary Schenkel said officials expect winds to reach 50 to 60 mph, with lake waves exceeding 24 feet. Outdoor concessions and the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier were closed Tuesday.

Portions of the bicycle path along Lake Shore Drive from North Avenue Beach to Ohio remained closed where the waves splashed onto the trail. Schenkel said the Chicago Transit Authority was prepared to reroute buses that use Lake Shore Drive, if necessary.

A handful of joggers were still running along the Chicago lakefront Tuesday morning despite the warnings to stay away.

It's the same story in Northwest Indiana where NBC Chicago's Anthony Ponce reported dangerous waves at Porter Beach. Authorities banned big rigs from using the Indiana Toll Road because of the windy conditions.

Officials monitored Lake Shore Drive in case the water starts to cascade over the barriers, creating dangerous driving conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a lakeshore flood warning from 1 a.m. Tuesday through 4 p.m. Wednesday.

O'Hare canceled more than 270 flights to and from the East coast on Tuesday, with Midway canceling nearly 70 flights.

No significant delays were reported at either airport.

Passengers traveling Tuesday or picking up passengers are urged to visit their airlines' web site for updated flight status.

Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean before slamming the mid-Atlantic coast.

Millions along the East Coast awoke Tuesday without power or mass transit, with huge swaths of the nation's largest city unusually vacant and dark.

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