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 Plaza. Construction materials and other debris were blown from the building, hitting the street and nearby buildings. Around 6:30 p.m., the Fire Department reported they were all safely back down on the ground.
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.
Gary Schenkel, executive director of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said one Streets and Sanitation worker was hospitalized after getting hit by a tree limb on the Southwest Side. The worker was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in Douglas Park with non-life-threatening injuries.
The debris flew out of two high-rise towers under construction at 150 N. Riverside Plaza and 444 W. Lake St. Three office towers at 150, 180 and 191 N. Wacker drives were evacuated after debris began smashing windows.
Deputy Fire Chief Michael Fox said the debris was "not loose construction material," nor was there any evidence of code violations at the project sites.
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.
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Temperatures 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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