CHICAGO — Tropical storm-like gusts of wind are scattering travel plans for the thousands of spectators descending on McCormick Place for President Barack Obama's farewell address Tuesday.
Cermak Road was closed between Michigan Avenue and King Drive, officials announced Tuesday afternoon. Event organizers will instead shepherd pedestrians from the CTA directly into the convention center through its west building, they said.
Metra trains departing from Millennium Station between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. will also stop at McCormick Place, officials said.
Can confirm it's pretty windy out near McCormick Place. Part of Cermak is shut down pic.twitter.com/FhwKWqj5Sa— David Lee Matthews (@DavidLMatthews) January 10, 2017
Wind speeds, intensifying as the day goes on, are expected to reach as high as 40 mph by day's end, according to Stephen Rodriguez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Gusts may be as powerful as 60 mph, he said.
"To put that into perspective, those are the kinds of wind speeds you see when we issue a severe thunderstorm warning," Rodriguez said.
A high wind warning is in effect for the city until 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The wind is also wreaking havoc on the city's airports, leading to widespread delays and the cancelation of nearly 200 flights out of O'Hare Airport, officials said.
Due to high winds, airlines at ORD reporting 60+ min. avg. delays. Nearly 200 flights cnxld. Confirm flight status w/ your airline.— O'Hare Intl. Airport (@fly2ohare) January 10, 2017
Air Force One is scheduled to touch down at O'Hare at 5:25 p.m.
The president is expected to take a motorcade down the Kennedy Expressway to McCormick Place instead of a helicopter because of the weather.
CPD's Motorcade on the Kennedy Expressway. pic.twitter.com/wkjrmPSRBF— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) January 10, 2017
Commuters should take extra precautions and limit their travel plans Tuesday, Rodriguez said.
"These kinds of winds are going to make any kind of travel difficult, and they're likely to blow around loose objects, which could lead to property damage," he said.
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