Updated: 2:24 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Hurricane Sandy is so massive that it is already making its presence felt here in Chicago, causing huge swells on Lake Michigan and disrupting flight plans for thousands of people.
About 400 flights, mostly to places like New York, Boston, Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia, were canceled at O’Hare as of mid-morning on Monday. Another 90 flights were canceled at Midway.
Many of those flights were canceled preemptively to keep those aircraft from being stranded or damaged on the East Coast as the storm moves in on Monday afternoon and evening.
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“Despite its distance from the East Coast, Chicago is preparing for the impact of Hurricane Sandy along our lakeshore. We cannot stress enough that residents should stay away from the lakefront for the next two days,” Gary W. Schenkel, executive director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said in a news release. “We urge pedestrians and motorists to heed warnings and pay attention to all road, street or pedestrian and bike path closures. Residents are encouraged to secure all items that may shift or blow away during high wind conditions.”
Waves created by strong northerly winds fueled by Sandy were already crashing loudly on the Lake Michigan shoreline downtown.
It will be worse tomorrow, with waves has high as 20 to 25 feet, about four times the height of a typical wave on a windy day.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the lake shore, starting at 1 a.m. on Tuesday through Wednesday until 4 p.m.
The bike path and parts of North and South Lake Shore Drive could be washed out by the large waves. Joggers are being told to stay off the path tomorrow and drivers are being urged to use caution or take a different route.
The lake front trail from North Avenue to Ohio, will be closed as of 11 p.m. tonight. Navy Pier outdoor concessions, along with the Ferris Wheel, will also be closed tomorrow.
The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications simply said, “Stay off the lake folks”. For the next 48 hours at least.
The impact may be similar to the flooding from the storm back in September of 2011. CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports.
There is also a high wind watch tonight, with winds gusts between 50 to 60 miles per hour.
A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that the western edge of Sandy was touching the eastern edge of Lake Michigan on Monday morning.
One jogger on the Lake Shore bike path said she’s stuck here after her flight to New York was canceled.
“I still get the storm even a thousand miles from home, but it’s good, nice morning,” said Jillian Durkin. “My apartment is in the evacuation zone. I hope it doesn’t get flooded.”
The hurricane also forced First Lady Michelle Obama to change her plans.
She was scheduled to fly from Washington, D.C. to Iowa today for some campaigning.
Instead, she stayed here in Chicago last night.
When she finishes-up in Iowa, aides say she’ll come back here for the night.
Amtrak has also canceled four inbound and outbound trains scheduled to make stops in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., spokesman Marc Magliari said.
Amtrak on Sunday canceled its Capitol Limited service between Chicago and Washington. It also scrapped nearly all service on the eastern seaboard starting Sunday night and said a decision will come later on when the trains can resume.