People in the Chicago area are smelling smoke from Kansas wildfires over 600 miles away

Jennifer Geer

High winds brought smoky smells across the Chicago area Thursday morning

Many people across the Chicago area were surprised when they woke up this morning and smelled smoke in the air. Some took to social media to find out where the smoke was coming from.

The National Weather Service tweeted around 4 AM Thursday, "Any early risers out there may smell smoke. Have no fear - there are no fires nearby. The smoke is actually from Kansas, traveling some 600 miles overnight with the strong southwest winds."

Damaging winds swept across the Chicago area yesterday and overnight, with wind gusts reported up to 74 mph in some places.

Wildfires in Kansas

Kansas was under a red flag warning on Wednesday due to dry conditions and high winds. According to a news release from the Kansas Department of Transportation, numerous highways in western and south-central Kansas were closed Wednesday due to high winds and low visibility.

High winds and power outages

In Chicago, wind gusts have caused thousands to lose power, and street lights and trees have been blown over. According to ABC7 Chicago, at one point last night, 100,000 Illinois residents were without power. This morning, ABC7 reports that the number is down to 14,000.

Although the wind warnings have expired, the region is still experiencing gusty weather on Thursday with winds of 25 to 35 mph. According to the Weather Channel, winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

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