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Wind, waves close parts of lakeshore path

Saturday, October 01, 2011

High winds and strong waves created a dangerous situation along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the city to northwest Indiana Friday morning.

Sections of the path along the lake remained closed Friday afternoon.

Joggers and bicyclists had to dodge high waves. Some people were knocked down and nearly dragged into the lake.

The huge waves prompted gale warnings for the lakefront Friday morning. Lakefront runners were no match for Friday's wind-driven waves.

"It was out of control. You couldn't walk. It was pushing you to the side," said Carmen McNealy.

On Friday morning, dangerous waves knocked down a biker as lake waters encroached beyond the shore, forcing the temporary shutdown of the path from Oak Street Beach to North Avenue Beach.

Chicago police officers warned of the danger while the city's park district officials asked the public to avoid the shoreline.

Still, there were those who just wouldn't stay away.

"We came out here on purpose because of the wind today, because we knew it would be beautiful on the lake," said runner Lee Langill.

Forecasters say the waves were whipped up by high winds that brought a cold front into the Chicago area overnight.

Little Village residents blame winds gusting up to 60 miles-per-hour for peeling bricks off a building which fell onto two parked cars. No one was injured.

"The owners told me to wait and maybe he'll pay me. But that's not sure," said Yuriana Sanchez, car owner.

Although a wind advisory that went into effect for the area Thursday afternoon expired early Friday morning, conditions were still breezy enough to cause some clean-up for workers putting the finishing touches on this weekend's beach polo event.

"We had a little tenting go down but that's immediately going back up. You've got to roll with the punches. And we'll be there, we'll be ready and open," said Barbara Goicoechea, Grey Goose Beach Polo.

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