Severe thunderstorms bear down on Chicago area

Severe weather is bearing down on the Chicago area Wednesday afternoon, with all of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana under an elevated thunderstorm risk.

The National Weather Service said virtually all of the Chicago area is at risk for thunderstorms as isolated storms earlier in the day increase in coverage and move northeast across the area.

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 5:45 p.m for eastern DuPage, north central Will and central Cook counties.

The storms carry limited risk of quarter-size hail, damaging winds up to 60 mph and flooding. Those storms could redevelop again later Wednesday night, but mostly south of Interstate 88, according to the weather service.

The storm was near Aurora about 4:30 p.m. and moving northeast at 30 mph. Nickle-size hail and winds of 50-55 mph have been reported, along with torrential rains and flash flooding. Motorists are not advised to drive through the storm.

The weather service also issued a special marine warming for much of southern Lake Michigan from Winthrop Harbor to Michigan City, Indiana. Boating will be hazardous, with wind gusts to 40 knots, and “suddenly higher waves.” Thunderstorms are also expected to remain over open waters after passing over the city.

Rain, thunderstorms and severe weather are also possible for the next four days, according to the weather service.

Warm weather will keep daily high temperatures in the upper 70s and mid-80s throughout the week, with cooling overnight to the upper-to-mid-60s.

Thursday will see a decreased chance of thunderstorms across the area. But chances for strong storms will return on Friday, according to the NWS.

The longer-range forecast predicts rain and possible thunderstorms Saturday through Memorial Day.