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Heavy winds pummel Chicago on one of the busiest travel days of the year

Holiday travelers were hit with dangerous wind gusts of 60 mph on Wednesday, causing thousands to lose power and sending debris flying through a taxi’s windshield in the Loop.

A wind advisory is in effect for the entire Chicago area on Nov. 15, 2020.
A high wind warning is in effect for the entire Chicago area on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times file photo

Holiday travelers in Chicago were hit with dangerous wind gusts of 60 mph on Wednesday, causing thousands to lose power and sending debris flying through a taxi’s windshield in the Loop.

The greatest threat will be from mid-morning through late afternoon. The weather service warned of gusts up to 65 mph.

A high wind warning is set to expire 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

“Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles” the weather service said in its warning.

By noon Wednesday, the weather service reported wind gusts of 61 mph at O’Hare International Airport, and gusts of 56 mph at Midway.

In the Loop, a person was injured by falling debris from a scaffold near Willis Tower. Photos showed a whole smashed through a cab’s windshield.

Chicago’s outdoor holiday market, Christkindlmarket, announced it would be closed to the public Wednesday morning due to the weather.

More than 5,300 ComEd customers have lost power in Cook County, according to the company.

Despite the heavy wind, airlines reported minimal cancellations and delays at O’Hare and Midway airports, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The warning applies to portions of northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana, stretching from Rockford to Portage.

More than 55 million people are expected to travel in the U.S. for Thanksgiving, according to AAA.