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Cyclone Winds Close Willis Tower Skydeck

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Willis Tower

The Willis Tower (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 10/26/10 1:00 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) - Even tourists who are willing to brave the wind on Tuesday won’t be able to see the views from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

The Willis Tower Skydeck observatory and its “Ledge” attraction are closed Tuesday due to the dangerously high winds.

The Ledge is made up of four glass boxes that jut out from the building’s 103rd floor. The boxes are retractable.

Spokeswoman Kate Murphy says the boxes are usually pulled in for maintenance and cleaning. She says they’ve been retracted as a precaution.

The Willis Tower is 110 stories tall, and officials say it’s been built to withstand high winds. But wind gusts have blown out windows in the skyscraper previously.

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In June, winds blew out two windows at the tower, in a 29th-floor air conditioning mechanical room and a 25th-floor unoccupied office.

In addition to the Willis Tower, the Garfield Park and the Lincoln Park conservatories have been closed by the Chicago Park District because of the high winds forecast for Tuesday. The botanical showcase houses on the West Side and near the Lincoln Park Zoo were for precautionary reasons, because the high gusting winds can create potential problems because the roofs at both conservatories are made of glass, the Park District said.

Also, the season is running out for Buckingham Fountain, and Chicagoans now have two fewer days to enjoy it. The fountain is off both Tuesday and Wednesday and because of the wind advisory, according to the Park District. The fountain will be off until spring after this coming Sunday.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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