Severe thunderstorm watch issued for Chicago area

Dark clouds cover the city ahead of a rainfall in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Strong storms are expected to move through the Chicago area Friday afternoon.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect in northern Illinois until 9 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Chicago can expect major thunderstorms between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m., coupled with frequent lightning and wind gusts up to 70 mph, the weather service said.

There is also a threat of tornados and scattered hail.