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Thousands lose power as 60 mph gusts blow through Chicago

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, wind turbines dot the landscape near Steele City, Neb. Wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation’s grid in 2015, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy. The remaining third was largely new power plants fueled by natural gas, which has become cheap and plentiful as a result of hydraulic fracturing. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) ORG XMIT: WX102

Wind turnbines in action. | AP Photo/Nati Harnik

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.

A semi-truck was blown over by high winds about 11 a.m. Sunday on I-39 just north of I-80. | Illinois State Police

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.