The entire Chicago area will be under a High Wind Warning Wednesday, one of the busiest holiday travel days, as wind gusts of up to 60 mph are expected.
The warning, which takes effect for all of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana Wednesday morning, urges people to avoid being outside near trees and, if possible, remain in the lower levels of homes.
The alert takes effect at 9 a.m. CT for most counties and continues until 6 p.m. In LaSalle, Grundy and Kankakee counties in Illinois and Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana, the warning begins at 6 a.m.
The high winds will follow a potentially stormy Tuesday evening, bringing some potentially strong to severe weather with a brief isolated tornado possible in southern counties.
The rain and storms will likely come to an end overnight but things will get even more treacherous as holiday travel begins in earnest. Temperatures are expected to drop back into the 40s but the real threat will quickly begin to emerge: “storm force winds,” some of which could exceed 50 mph, according to forecast models.
The windy conditions could have a significant impact on air travel, as one of the busiest travel days of the year will likely be affected by the rough conditions.
This month, AAA predicted that the number of travelers over a five-day stretch starting Wednesday will be the second-highest, behind only 2005, despite rising costs for a road trip.
Winds should begin to calm on Thanksgiving, with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the upper-30s and low-40s, but another round is expected heading into the weekend.
More rain is expected throughout the holiday weekend, with the potential for accumulating snow by Sunday as highs dip into the upper-30s ahead of what’s expected to be another cold week.
For all the latest details on the Thanksgiving forecast, be sure to keep an eye on the NBC Chicago app.