Chicago weather: Strong thunderstorms expected late Wednesday or early Thursday

Strong thunderstorms with potentially damaging winds are expected to push through the Chicago area late Wednesday or early Thursday, though forecasters are less certain the storms will produce derecho-strength winds seen last August.

"We’ve seen some reports that this will be like Aug. 10, but we’re not forecasting something like that. There’s a lot more uncertainty with this one," said Lee Carlaw, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The most likely scenario is that pockets of thunderstorms with winds from 60 to 70 mph will hit between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday, although they could arrive as early as 11 p.m. Wednesday, Carlaw said.


The strongest parts of the storm are likely to move over the lake and hit western parts of Michigan.

But there’s still a possibility the storm will gain power and head further inland, with winds as high as 75 or 80 mph that could cause significant damage, Carlaw said.

In a statement Wednesday morning, AccuWeather warned that the storm had the potential for winds up to 100 mph.

Between 1 and 2 inches of rain could fall by 8 a.m. Thursday, according to the weather service.

In Northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, a Beach Hazards Statement will be in effect from Thursday at 1 a.m. CST through Friday evening. People are urged to take precautions, as life-threatening rip and structural currents can pull swimmers into deeper water and high waves can sweep people off piers.

The forecast for Northern Indiana is partly cloudy Wednesday through midnight with lows around 70, and then a chance of thunderstorms early in the morning Thursday. Throughout the day Thursday, it will be partly cloudy with highs in the upper 80s. Chance of precipitation is 70-percent. Thursday night will have lows in the lower 60s. Friday will have highs in the upper 70s.