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Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 10/20/2011

Chicago’s amazing wind and waves

Surface analysis from 2 a.m. ET Thursday morning showing strong low pressure over northwest Ohio. Black contours are lines of equal pressure, or isobars. The tight spacing between isobars is an indicator of strong winds. (Penn State)
As low pressure over the Ohio Valley rapidly deepened over the last 24 hours, screaming winds wrapped around its backside, creating tropical storm-like conditions in Chicago. The counter clockwise flow around the low drove raging winds southbound over Lake Michigan, causing massive waves on Chicago’s shorelines.

Check out this unbelievable video from Highland Park:

Sustained winds exceeded 40 mph in parts of Chicago for a time last night. And here are some of the peak wind gusts recorded (source Chicago Weather Center):

64 mph Chicago Harrison-Dever Crib
63 mph Michigan City Indiana
53 mph Chicago Soldier Field

Wave heights were predicted to reach as high as 20 to 25 feet overnight. The Chicago Weather Center reports waves on Lake Michigan reached 19 feet at 8 a.m. (7 a.m. CT) this morning 50 miles east southeast of Milwaukee.

Here is another video showing the dramatic surf, more of something you’d expect to see along Atlantic beaches, shot yesterday on the shores of Lake Michigan:

The Chicago Tribune reported 20 boats were damaged after the high wind and waves broke them free from buoys overnight. It also reported the high surf forced the lakefront path to be shut down between Fullerton and Grand avenues Wednesday. The Chicago Sun Times said pedestrians were discouraged from running, cycling, or walking near the edge of the lake.

High winds and heavy surf are forecast to continue through this morning, but gradually relent this afternoon.

By  |  11:02 AM ET, 10/20/2011

Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather

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