Chicago weather: Sirens blare as Tornado Warnings issued for parts of the area
CHICAGO - Tornado Warnings were issued for DeKalb, McHenry and Cook counties as severe thunderstorms with "destructive 90 mph winds" rolled through the Chicago area Friday night.
A Tornado Watch is in effect until 10 p.m. for the entire Chicago area.
Tornado Warnings were also issued in Lake, Porter and Jasper counties in Indiana.
Winds could gust up to 90 mph as the brunt of the storms hit Friday evening, according to a weather alert sent out to cellphones. Hail the size of golf balls was also reported throughout Illinois.
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"Remember these storms will be fast moving with speeds over 60 mph so be prepared to take action immediately if a warning is issued for your area," the weather service said in an advisory.
Parts of Northwest Illinois were upgraded to the rarely seen "High Risk" category for severe weather, specifically tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
Winds were howling out of the south, driving highs into the 60s for the first time this year.
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Around noon, the Storm Prediction Center issued the upgraded warnings. Chicagoland has also seen an upgrade into the "moderate risk" category (level 4 out of 5) for areas west and south of the city.
A wind advisory went into effect Friday afternoon and will continue through midday Saturday for areas along and south of I-80. Gusts could exceed 45mph regardless of any thunderstorm presence.
The first storm system hit in the afternoon. The second system — a line of severe storms — rolled through after 7 p.m.
A hazardous weather outlook was issued for Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, Grundy and Kankakee counties in Illinois and Porter, Newton, Jasper and Benton counties in Indiana.
"Destructive winds, several tornadoes and damaging hail are all possible today," the National Weather Service tweeted. "This is a relatively rare, significant severe weather threat for our area."
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The weather service said there is "significant thunderstorm risk, elevated tornado risk, elevated hail risk…up to golf ball size."
After that, the storms are done but the system is still at work. Strong winds will continue to buffet the area as colder air drills in from the west. Temps will tank into the 30s by daybreak when snow showers-yes, you read that correctly, snow showers will move through.
Sunday looks dry with highs in the 50s. Showers could impact the White Sox home opener Monday but a rain-out appears unlikely. More impactful might be another round of severe storms threatening to hit on election Day.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.