Strong winds knocked out power for 8,461 NIPSCO customers beginning Tuesday night, but power was back on for all but about 400 by late afternoon Wednesday.

The National Weather Service wind advisory remained in effect in the Region until 8 p.m. and forecasters said sustained winds of 30 to 39 mph or gusts between 45 and 57 mph were likely.

NIPSCO spokesperson Denise Rodriguez said the area hardest hit by the outages was close to the state line in Hammond, Whiting and Gary. Valparaiso, Crown Point, Schererville and St. John also had several hundred outages reported. Rodriguez said the 8,461 customers without power were the result of 154 outages.

An outage that affected power near the Southlake Mall caused big traffic backups when signals switched to flashing mode. Lots of trees and limbs were reported downed by the wind.

Strong winds likely will make for difficult travel conditions especially for high profile vehicles on north- and south-oriented roads. Winds could cause property damage. Any lightweight outdoor objects should be secured or brought indoors. 

The Indiana Toll Road issued a wind ban through 8 p.m. Wednesday. The ban affects the entire length of the Indiana Toll Road and impacts only triple-tractor trailers, long doubles (high profile only) and high profile oversized permit loads. All other vehicles are permitted. 

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Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.