High winds knock down trees, power lines, trucks

Truck blown over on I-39 north of I-80

High-speed winds moved through the Chicago area on Sunday at speeds over 60 mph, disrupting travel and causing thousands to lose power.

The National Weather Service issued a “High Wind Warning” that began overnight and lasts until 6 p.m. Sunday in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana.

A peak gust of 61 mph was measured at O’Hare Airport at 3:30 p.m., the weather service said. A gust of 59 mph was recorded at 11 a.m. at Midway Airport.

The weather service predicted that winds would decrease after 6 p.m. to 45 and 50 mph until Monday.

More than 14,000 ComEd customers were reporting power outages as of 5 p.m., according to the utility company’s outage map. Over 5,100 of the customers were Cook County residents and 1,900 were in Chicago.

By 5 p.m. Sunday, O’Hare Airport had canceled 255 flights in the last 24 hours, the Chicago Dept. of Transportation said. Midway Airport was reporting 127 flights canceled.

In addition, loose objects blowing around and sporadic snow storms posed “extreme difficulty” for larger vehicles, especially on streets that run north-south, the weather service said.

Illinois State Police reported that wind blew over several semi-trucks near Rochelle.

Residents are warned to steer clear of fallen power lines, be careful on the roads and secure any lightweight objects outside, the weather service said.

Chicago is also scheduled to see intermittent snow showers between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, as well as another cold front sweeping the area, the weather service said. Temperatures in the city are predicted to fall to 23 degrees by 5 p.m. and plunge to a low of 7 degrees — minus 11 with windchill — at night.

Monday’s forecast has a high of 18 and a low around 11, the weather service said. But come Tuesday, temperatures will pick up and hover around the 20s.