Superstorm Sandy, which pounded the Eastern Seaboard Monday, has arrived in Chicago — albeit in less dramatic fashion.
The National Weather Service, which said winds could reach gale- or storm-force, has issued a lakeshore flood warning lasting until 4 p.m. Wednesday. As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, Coast Guard officials said there have been no problems in the southern Lake Michigan area. The flood concern stems not from rain, but from winds on the fringe on the hurricane, according to the National Weather Service.
The bike paths along the Chicago lakeshore and South Lake Shore Drive, as well as piers and breakwalls, could be significantly affected. The Lake Shore Drive bike path was closed from Oak to Ohio Street as of 7:30 a.m., according to city officials. There is a possibility Lake Shore Drive could be shut down if conditions take a turn for the worse, officials said.
Amtrak service has been suspended from Boston south to Raleigh, North Carolina, and from the East Coast to Chicago. Both O’Hare and Midway Airports reported normal operating conditions Tuesday morning, without any significant delays. At O’Hare, some 270 flights to and from the East Coast had been cancelled as of 7:30 a.m., while 70 flights were cancelled at Midway.
The Chicago Park District has advised people to stay away from the lakefront due to high winds and expected high waves. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has shut down the final day of the Franken Plaza event in Daley Plaza because of high winds.
The city also decided to cancel the downtown Halloween celebration because of “expected high winds,” according to the statement. “All Halloween activities and tents will be removed for safety reasons.”
The storm however, will not affect Chicago’s water taxi service or tour boats on the Chicago River, according to a spokesman for Wendella Boat Tours, which also operates the taxis.
Evanston’s dog beach will be also closed until further notice because of “dangerous high waves and winds,” a statement from the city said.