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Chicago area expected to get hit with strong winds, rain, possibly snow

A pedestrian walks past the mural "Whoot," by artist Tony Passero, at the intersection of North Kedzie and West Belmont avenues on a cold and wet Wednesday morning, April 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

A spring weather mix of high winds, rain and possible snow flurries is poised to wreak havoc on commuters throughout the Chicago area.

Strong winds late Wednesday night could create huge waves slamming along the lakefront that might spill onto Lake Shore Drive. A similar storm more than two years ago closed some lanes, slowed traffic and prompted Navy Pier to cancel its Halloween haunted house on a barge.

Waves are forecast to be as high as 22 feet, and a lakeshore flood warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday in Cook and Lake counties, brought on by winds that could be 40 mph or greater, according to the National Weather Service.

A high wind watch is in effect from late Wednesday through Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Chicago area could see winds of up to 40 mph, which could increase to 60 mph after midnight before returning to 45 mph Thursday, said weather service meteorologist Amy Seeley.

In addition to creating big waves that could cause lakefront flooding, strong winds can could damage trees and power lines.

Wet weather is in the forecast through Thursday.

Rain is expected to continue all day Wednesday. A slight chance of snow hits after midnight, which isn’t unusual for April, before turning back to rain Thursday, Seeley said. The snow won’t stick, and temperatures could reach 70 degrees Sunday.

The forecast rainfall through Thursday afternoon of up to 1 1/2 inches across northern Illinois could cause the Des Plaines and Fox rivers to rise, the weather service said.

A flood warning was issued for the Des Plaines River near Des Plaines in Cook County, and near Lincolnshire in Lake County. Flooding also is possible for the Fox River at the Algonquin tailwater, affecting Kane and McHenry counties, and near the village of Montgomery for Kane and Kendall counties.

For more information, check the Tribune’s weather page.

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