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Wind Moves Out, Mercury To Plunge

Edison Park Damage

High winds caused damage Wednesday night in Edison Park. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) - The worst of the wind is over, but Chicagoans are advised to watch out for debris on streets and sidewalks as they make their way to work or school.

On Thursday, the Great Lakes Cyclone, since nicknamed the “Chiclone,” is moving out. Wind speeds are still higher than normal, but not to the point of warranting a high wind warning or advisory.

As of 6:45 a.m., the wind speed was 16 at O’Hare International Airport, 18 at Midway International Airport, and 21 at Aurora, Kankakee and Gary, Ind.

The weather system has left a trail of damage and havoc throughout the area since it arrived Tuesday morning.

First, a squall line of severe thunderstorms Tuesday morning produced four confirmed tornadoes in the area. A tornado in Peotone destroyed two barns and snapped a telephone pole. It also knocked two teenage brothers, Justin and Jesse Schroeder, back into their house as they left for high school.

A total of eight tornadoes touched down in Indiana, and three more in Wisconsin, as a result of the storm.

After the storms moved out, winds gusting up to 60 mph caused more problems.

Power lines and trees came down all over the area. In Lindenhurst, the branch from a 70-foot tree, was sent crashing onto a smart car being driven down Grand Avenue by Helen Miller. The branch ended up lodged in Miller's abdomen.

The wind also closed the Willis Tower Skydeck and Ledge attraction for two days. The Lincoln Park and Garfield Park conservatories were also closed, as the Chicago Park District warned that their glass walls and roofs could pose a danger.

At one point, more than 100,000 customers were without power as a consequence of the storm. By Thursday morning, that number had dropped to about 5,000.

As the wind moves out, the summerlike climes of earlier this week are giving way to cold, late fall conditions with highs Thursday afternoon only at 49 degrees. The low for Thursday night is a literally freezing 32.