Strong winds, rain make conditions treacherous

October 19, 2011

CityRoom and Associated Press

Forecasters expect storm force wind gusts to ease during the day Thursday, after generating waves up to 25 feet across southern Lake Michigan Thursday morning.  But flood warnings remain in effect for some communities along Lake Michigan.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for parts of Northwest Indiana, warning that "large and battering waves will likely result in beach erosion and flooding" along the lakeshore.  Residents near the shore were urged to watch for rising water and to take necessary precautions "to protect life and property."

High winds and heavy rains prompted public safety officials in Chicago to close the lakefront bike path on Wednesday.  

The Office of Emergency Management issued the public safety reminder Wednesday, saying that the lakefront bike path is closed because of expected high waves, heavy rains, and wind gusts of up to 50 mph.

Director Gary Schenkel says pedestrians should exercise extreme caution and obey any closures or barricades.

As of late Wednesday evening winds of up to 45 mph had been reported near 63rd Street Beach in Chicago as well as in Porter, IN, according to the National Weather Service. 

Weather officials say the wind could also cause minor damage like downed tree limbs and power lines.

The weather conditions were expected to be worse than a storm in late September when high waves created big problems for bikers and runners along the lakefront.