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Winds from Sandy whip Ind. lakeshore near Dunes

October 31, 2012 6:02:48 AM PDT
Extreme wind gusts whipped the shoreline in Gary, Indiana, Tuesday.

ABC7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz says the peak gust so far has been 63 mph in Michigan City with a gust to 53 mph in Burns Harbor.

Waves could get as high as 33 feet. Despite warnings, people are coming to see what it looks like and feel the force if the wind.

Hurricane Sandy is blowing sand all over the Indiana Dunes. In Marquette Park, onlookers came to snap pictures of the surf after the sun came up. Most people could barely hold their cameras steady, let alone stand.

"I come out here all the time with my dog. I had to come out here this Morning, seen it on TV, I had to come out and witness it," said onlooker John Cope.

"As long as i keep my back to the wind, it is good," said Ed Smith.

But authorities are urging people not to get close to the water. The National Weather Service issued a warning for the area until 7 p.m. Waves can be anywhere from 20 -33 feet with wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.

I have been in Puerto Rico during hurricanes. and it feels like Sandy came to Indiana," said onlooker John Hatten.

Because of the wind, on the Indiana Toll Road there was a ban on triple tractor-trailers, long doubles and other extra large vehicles until 2 p.m.

The high waves brought cargo shipping to a standstill on the Great Lakes. Freighters as long as 1,000 feet haul loads of iron ore, coal and other bulk commodities on the lakes. Most if not all have took refuge in harbors or bays to escape the storm's wrath.

Emergency officials with the City of Gary are reminding people to take all of the warnings seriously.

Police have also been at beaches to keep people from getting too close to the water.

"It is quite dangerous," said Deputy Fire Chief Darryl Smith, Gary. "Obviously. you have walkers and nature lovers out there. We are asking everybody to tune in to the weather stations, and into the public safety stations, listen to the public safety individuals that are out here trying to maintain a safe environment."

NIPSCO was reporting 3,200 customers are without power in northern Indiana as of 11:30 a.m. Most of them are by the lake. There were not a lot of reports of damage, besides at least one tree down and a beach Porta-Potty on its side.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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