Strong winds knock out power to 12,700, topple trees and one building

Despite the gale-force winds and warnings by forecasters to tie down loose objects, no significant injuries were reported by city agencies.

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A downed utility pole can be seen at IL-83 and IL-120 in Grayslake.

A downed utility pole can be seen at IL-83 and IL-120 in Grayslake.

National Weather Service

Wind gusts peaked at 55 mph late Wednesday and toppled trees, at least one building and knocked out power to thousands of Chicagoans.

About 12,700 people lost power overnight mainly from downed lines caused by wind and falling or swaying tree branches, according to ComEd spokesman John Schoen. By noon Thursday, the number of customers with outages was down to 576, according to ComEd’s website.

No significant injuries were reported by city agencies despite gale-force winds and warnings by forecasters to tie down loose objects,

That includes a partial building collapse during the heaviest gusts in the Avondale neighborhood. A wall of 2901 N. Campbell Ave. collapsed onto a neighboring building undergoing demolition, causing a wall of that building to also fall, according to Chicago Department of Buildings spokeswoman Mimi Simon.

Meanwhile, city workers in Chicago responded to dozens of calls for downed trees, wires and street poles on Wednesday and Thursday.

Twenty-seven calls were made to 311 for downed wires, 64 calls for “tree emergencies” and 48 calls for damaged light poles, according to Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Claffey.

There were also 186 calls for street lights not working and 67 calls for nonfunctioning traffic signals, Claffey said.

Winds peaked shortly after midnight at O’Hare Airport, which measured a gust of 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Midway Airport recorded a peak gust of 49 mph at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The forecast calls for calmer weather through the end of the week, until a mix of snow and rain hit late Sunday.

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