Strong Winds Trap Construction Workers Downtown Chicago

Strong Winds Trap Construction Workers Downtown Chicago

DOWNTOWN — Seven construction workers got trapped in an unfinished Downtown high-rise Friday after high winds made it too dangerous for them to come down, officials said.


The workers were stuck in the upper floors of the building at 150 N. Riverside. Construction materials and other debris were blown from the building, hitting the street and other buildings.

Elsewhere, gusts swirling of up to 69 miles per hour are wreaking havoc across town and shattering the windows of Wacker Drive office towers.

An entire tree was uprooted at Lincoln Avenue and Montana Street in Lincoln Park, crushing a silver car with the driver still in it. The man was not injured, witness Dave Keats said. The Chicago Fire Department also reported a car crushed at 1800 W. Walnut St. after a building collapse.

ComEd said 54,000 people are currently without power in Chicago and Maywood. Observation decks at the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center are closed as well, officials confirmed.

The National Weather Service said the wind advisory will last until 6 p.m. tonight. Gusts have gone up at 69 miles per hour off the lake, and similar wind speeds were recorded at O’Hare, the weather service said. O’Hare employees say that debris on runways is preventing planes from landing.

Construction materials and other debris have come crashing down in different parts of the city, including Downtown, the Near West Side, McKinley Park, Kenwood and O’Hare.

Debris falling from 150 N. Riverside Plaza caused buildings at 150, 180 and 191 N. Wacker Dr. to be evacuated, according to Fire Department officials.

A previous construction accident at the same building had closed the Randolph Street bridge in October.

A representative of 150 N. Riverside Plaza developer John O’Donnell did not immediately return a call for comment Friday afternoon..

The CTA is removing passengers from elevated train lines in the Loop. There are also reported delays along the Green and Purple Line trains due to debris on the tracks.

DNAinfo reporter Andrea Watson said wooden planks “flying all over” have shut down the street near 50th and East End Avenue in Kenwood.

It appears that similar issues with wooden boards have closed down the Marshalls department store in Lincoln Park.

Downed trees and branches are coming down on cars and power lines. A falling tree branch on the Southwest Side has crushed a Chicago Streets & Sanitation van, CBS2 reported.

Meanwhile, temperatures have soared on the very strong southwest to west winds, hitting 60 degrees at O’Hare Airport at 1:45 p.m. Friday. Midway was at 62 degrees around the same time, according to weather.com.

The National Weather Service forecast a high of 65 degrees for Friday. The weekend forecast is for temps to reach near 57 degrees Saturday, with wind gusts as high as 20 miles per hour. Saturday night, the high is 34.

Sunday is also cooler, with a daytime high of 43 and a night time low of 30 degrees.

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