High winds swept across the Chicago area Thursday. Wind gusts up to 50 mph downed trees and power lines and triggered tornado watches across the region.

The winds caused dangerous conditions on the water. In Waukegan a man died while trying to rescue somebody in Lake Michigan. 19-year-old Joshua Simpson of Zion died after pushing a woman and a man to safety.

In Chicago winds whipped through Belmont harbor, capsizing two 15-foot sailboats. Witnesses say four boaters ended up in the water and had to be rescued.

"One of the boats was flipped over&when we got out there...as we were on our way out, the other one flipped over," said rescuer Dalton Tebo. Tebo is one of six men Chicago police are praising. They work for the Chicago Yacht Club and used their motorized, safety boats to save a man and a woman about a hundred yards offshore.

"We asked them if they were ok, they put a smile on their face - got us the thumbs up...we tied them up and got them in as fast as we could," said rescuer Bobby Noonan.

Chicago police rescued two men from a second sailboat.

"Personally, I would not go sailing on a day like today...and our students in our classes would never sail on a day like today," said rescuer Joe Quick.

As of 10 p.m., about 9,700 customers system wide were without power, according to ComEd spokesman Joe Trost, down from 21,000 affected customers at 2 p.m. "It's (the number of affected customers) going down," he said.

As of 7:30 p.m., Streets & Sanitation had responded to reports of 796 reports of damage to trees in the public way or tree limbs down, 57 traffic lights out, 42 light poles damaged and 71 downed wires, according to a release.

No one was reported injured, but one tree fell on a car at 2118 W. Cortez St., according to Streets & San.

O'Hare International Airport was reporting delays averaging one to two hours for all inbound and outbound flights, and more than 400 flights were canceled Thursday due to high winds, according to Department of Aviation spokeswoman Wendy Abrams.

Midway reported only a handful of delayed flights and no cancellations. All travelers passing through Chicago's airports Thursday should contact their airline ahead of time to check on the status of flights.

And in Carol Stream, the Village Emergency Management staff cancelled the opening night of the "Summer in the Center" festival because of dangerous weather being forecast for the western suburbs.

A wind advisory remains in effect until midnight and thunderstorms are also expected, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Gitro said.

"When you have southerly winds like this they help bring up a lot of warm, moist air,'' Gitro said. But a strong cold front is also going to occur that will bring rain. "We expect numerous thunderstorms to develop, likely severe ones,'' Gitro said.

Storms are expected throughout the evening for the entire Chicagoland area, he said.