The The NOAA Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for most of the Midwest including the Chicago area:
…DAMAGING WINDS POSSIBLE TODAY…
…HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS MORNING TO
8 PM CDT THIS EVENING…
A HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS MORNING TO
8 PM CDT THIS EVENING.
* TIMING…THIS MORNING THROUGH 8 PM THIS EVENING.
* WINDS…WILL SHIFT TO SOUTHWEST THIS MORNING AND INCREASE
TO 30 TO 40 MPH…WITH GUSTS UP TO 60 MPH.
* IMPACTS…NON SECURE OBJECTS MAY BECOME AIRBORNE. FALLING TREE
LIMBS AND POWER OUTAGES ARE LIKELY…WITH TRAFFIC SIGNALS ALSO
EXPECTED TO BE AFFECTED RESULTING IN SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL
DELAYS. TRAVEL WILL ALSO BECOME DIFFICULT…WITH HIGH PROFILE
VEHICLES BECOMING DIFFICULT TO CONTROL.
They’re talking about an Edmund Fitzgeraldstorm-level storm:
The weather service warned that the winds could cause major problems across the area, including falling tree limbs, structural damage, downed power lines and widespread power outages. At 7 a.m., Commonwealth Edison already was reporting 26,500 customers without power across the region, up sharply from the 5,600 reported only an hour earlier. The utility’s western region was hardest hit, with 11,000 without electricity.
City aviation officials warned of delays and cancellations at O’Hare and Midway airports. As of 7:15 a.m., at least 26 departing flights had already been canceled at O’Hare International Airport. The FAA instituted a ground stop at other airports on Chicago air traffic.
The massive storm, packing lightning and heavy downpours, is the result of a low-pressure system that the western Great Lakes and upper Midwest region has not experienced in decades.
“The storm system will be one of the most powerful we have seen in this part of the country in more than 70 years,” said Jim Allsopp, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “This is a big deal.”
Although it’s just a little before 8:00am as I write this, it’s still nearly as dark as night outside. Oddly, it doesn’t appear that we’re getting a lot of rain yet.