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    Strong Winds, Coastal Flooding to Wallop the Windy City

    By By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
    October 20, 2011, 12:41:53 PM EDT

    4:04pm Update Winds are really starting to pick up in Chicago this afternoon. The police closed a Lake Shore Drive bike path in anticipation of waves coming out of the lake, like they did during Chicago's late September storm.

    A deepening storm system over the Great Lakes region will wreak havoc in Chicago with coastal flooding and wind damage Wednesday night into Thursday.

    Low pressure will continue to push into the Midwest Wednesday, strengthening fairly rapidly. The strengthening of this storm will lead to increasingly windy conditions from Detroit to Grand Rapids and Chicago.

    The flow around this low (predicted to be centered over northwestern Ohio by this evening) will create strong northeast to north winds right into the Chicago metro area.

    As mentioned before in another story, sustained winds will average 15-30 mph with frequent gusts to 40-50 mph.

    The persistent northeast flow will send waves crashing into the lake front region of Chicago. Wave heights at the peak of the storm could reach 20-25 feet, which is more than enough to create significant issues along the shore of the lake.

    Lakeshore Drive, one of Chicago's most traveled routes, could experience flooding due to the dangerous waves expected to crash onshore.

    Boats docked on Lake Michigan could be inundated with water and tossed around in the high winds.

    Beach erosion could also be a problem as the dangerous winds and waves pound the coast. Some of Chicago's nicest beaches could sustain damage.

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    Even away from the lake, the pounding rain and high winds will simulate tropical storm conditions which can bring down tree branches and power lines.

    Safely secure any objects or furniture which are outside as they could easily be tossed hundreds of feet in the dangerous winds.

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