Millions Could be Without Power in Midwest Next Few Days

October 26, 2010; 12:32 PM ET
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The strongest storm system to hit the Midwest in years will blast through the region over the next couple of days.

The biggest, most widespread impact will be howling winds that cause major travel disruptions along with damage and power outages in communities across nearly a dozen states.

Power outages were already reported in parts of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky early Tuesday morning, and these are only the beginning.

Winds will continue strengthening across a large swath stretching from the Dakotas to Michigan and Ohio today. The winds will hold strong through Wednesday with 55-mph gusts being common. In some areas, especially farther west into Minnesota and Iowa, winds could even gust near 75 mph.

Winds of this magnitude can easily take down trees and power lines with power outages resulting. With chilly temperatures in the forecast for a large part of the region, many people could be left shivering where power outages do occur.

These powerful winds will also wreak havoc on travel both on the ground and in the air. Airport delays are a pretty much a guarantee for the major hubs of the Midwest, including Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit, through Wednesday.

Delays were already mounting at busy Chicago O'Hare Tuesday morning and will no doubt create a ripple effect across the nation. The result will be a nightmare for airline passengers with flights connecting through or originating from Chicago.

The winds will also be strong enough to topple over high profile vehicles. People traveling along major highways and interstates should be prepared for the possibility of detours around semi-trucks that have been overturned by the winds.

In many places across the Midwest, the high winds today will be accompanied by soaking rain and thunderstorms, some severe. This means residents better get out the raincoats, as winds will whip the rain horizontally and render umbrellas nearly useless.

While the winds will keep up Wednesday, most of the Midwest will dry out. However, chilly rain and even wet snow is in store for parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan late Tuesday into Wednesday as the winds drive cold air into the region.

People in Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn., will need to bundle up Wednesday morning, as AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures, which provide a measure of how cold it will feel with the wind factored in, will be in the teens. Meanwhile, in Fargo, N.D., RealFeel® temperatures will fall into the single digits!

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