Chicago to Feel Sandy Effects: Wind and Waves

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
October 29, 2012; 6:00 AM
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Even though Sandy will remain a distant storm, its unusually large circulation will bring strong wind gusts and Lake Michigan flooding to part of Chicagoland.

North to northwest wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph will be common over the region. However, higher gusts to 60 mph are possible over the open water, along the lakeshore and between buildings.

The worst conditions will be in northwestern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, given the forecast wind direction and fetch off the lake. However, problems are likely along part of Chicago's Lakefront.

Lakeshore flooding of 2 to 4 feet is forecast with higher wave action on top of the surge. Wave action and strong winds can cause structural damage along the lake.

Wave heights will average 15 to 20 feet but can peak near 25 feet offshore. Conditions will be very dangerous for craft. Venturing near the lake can be very dangerous.

Even miles inland, wind gusts will be strong enough to down tree limbs, power lines and entire trees. Be alert for flying debris, as loose items will become airborne.

Avoid walking or parking under trees as limbs can come down with no notice.

The worst wind and wave conditions will span Monday night into Tuesday night. However, locally strong gusts in the neighborhood of 40 to 45 mph and overwash will continue into Wednesday.

Sandy is forecast to weaken slowly after moving inland from New Jersey over Pennsylvania and New York state, but it will take time for the large storm to unwind.

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