The Windy City

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 Fitzgerald”storm-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.

9 comments… add one
  • Andy

    I’m SE of you in Ohio and there’s a big front that should hit us in an hour or so. It’s pretty windy here, but not too severe yet.

  • Drew

    The tornado sirens went off at about 6:30 (they are located in Aurora). Its disconcerting when it is too dark to look to the south, southwest and see anyting, so I sent the wife and daughter to the basement.

    The wind blew sideways (literally) for about 20 minutes blowing garbage all around (Tuesday is pick up here) and now its pretty much calmed down to gusts and a little rain. I guess winds will pick up again later.

  • Drew

    I spoke too soon. Looking to the west its partially sunny, but over what looks like Plainfield is an angry sky and then bam!! 40 – 50 mph gusts. I guess this is going to go on most of the day.

  • To be honest I’m glad my wife has gone to work. She’s a California girl and finds our weather here pretty distressing. She’d have me and the dogs in the basement all day.

    I, on the other hand, probably take this stuff too casually. I’ve been within ten or fifteen feet of a small tornado a couple of feet across. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. What I noticed most was the disorganization. Real tornadoes aren’t as coherent as movie tornadoes.

  • PD Shaw

    The wind and thunderstorms hit us down here late last night. The intermittent nature of the wind kept me up, so I read an M.R. James ghost story.

    Office is half-empty this morning; I fear some beautiful old trees bit the dust last night.

  • Drew

    Sorry to hear about the trees. I think we avoided that here because the leaves really came off last week, eliminating he resistance.

  • Drew

    By te way, Dave, don’t you mean dust devil?

  • No, it was a real tornado less than ten feet across. It left a damage path, right down to the soil, scouring the grass away as it went. Dust devils don’t do that. There have been tornados reported as small as seven feet across.

  • Drew

    Dave –

    Now, is this your inner dare devil, getting within 10 feet of a tornado?

    In a prior life, were you a matador? :-}

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