Massive waves were expected to reach 24 feet early Thursday after high winds and rain caused Lake Michigan to flood parts of Chicago.

Winds of more than 40 miles per hour caused water to batter areas near the lake Wednesday evening and prompted city authorities to discourage people from running, cycling or walking near the edge of lake, or swimming in it, myFOXchicago.com reported.

The National Weather Service predicted waves would reach 18 feet Wednesday night and as high as 24 feet by 4:00am Thursday.

Chicago's Lake Shore Drive bike path was also closed, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The newspaper said some airlines were experiencing delays of at least 30 minutes at O'Hare International Airport while the weather conditions prompted Northwestern University to warn students to stay away from the shore at its lakeside Evanston campus.

"It's pretty intense," resident Ryan Erwin told myFOXchicago.com. "I'm impressed. I've never seen a lake this violent."

A high wind warning will remain in effect until 10.00am Thursday near the lake, the Sun-Times reported, while a flood warning will remain in effect until 4:00pm Thursday, by which time waves are expected to gradually subside to less than 15 feet.

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High Waves Close Lake Shore Drive Bike Path: MyFoxCHICAGO.com