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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Huge wind storm wreaks havoc in parts of the U.S.

    CHICAGO — A massive wind storm — stretching nearly 2,200 miles from north to south — plowed across the middle of the country Tuesday, downing trees and power lines, spawning tornadoes and disrupting air travel while placing 28 states under various types of weather advisories.

    The storm produced blizzard warnings in North Dakota and Montana and tornado watches from Mississippi and Alabama north to Pennsylvania and New York state.

    “”It’s a huge storm, and it’s dominating the wind pattern and the weather over a big chunk of North America,”” said WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling in Chicago. “”And we’re not done with this storm yet. The wind is going to blow for another couple days.””

    Wind gusts Tuesday were in excess of 60 miles per hour in several parts of the Midwest, and tornadoes were reported in Wisconsin and Illinois, including one in the village of Peotone, about 40 miles south of Chicago.

    The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down and ripped the roof off a Peotone home, slightly injuring two brothers.

    “”There was a sound of the wind, then there was a tiny whistle and everything exploding around,”” said Justin Schroeder, 17, one of the injured brothers. “”Glass was exploding everywhere.””

    Utility companies in Indiana, Illinois and the St. Louis area reported more than 80,000 homes and businesses were without power. To the west, North Dakota was expecting its first significant snowfall of the season, with the National Weather Service saying up to 10 inches of snow could fall in some areas by early Wednesday.

    While reports of scattered damage trickled in throughout the day, many in Chicago began doubting what had been billed as one of the biggest storms in decades. Some Midwesterners on Twitter — who had earlier been talking about a “”Chiclone”” and “”Windpocalypse”” — dismissed the storm as a classic case of meteorological hype.

    Skilling said doubters of the storm’s seriousness should hold their tongues.

    “”Wind damage is famously non-homogenous, so you’ll have some areas hit hard and some not,”” he said. “”Any wind that comes into a heavily populated area encounters frictional drag from the buildings, so it may not seem as intense to people in the city. But I always hold my breath and wait to hear what comes in after these things in terms of damage.””

    At O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, a major hub for American and United airlines, more than 500 flights were canceled. Skilling and the meteorolgists at the National Weather Service said the storm would likely continue producing high winds through the day Wednesday, possibly further slowing air traffic and creating hazardous travel conditions.

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