The Chicago area is enjoying a partly sunny and warm afternoon while showers and thunderstorms rumble across areas northwest of the city from central Iowa into southern Wisconsin and south of the city from south of Springfield east into Indiana.
The storms in southern Wisconsin have produced small hail in the Beloit and Williams Bay areas while hail up to golf-ball size has battered portions of eastern Iowa.
The southern storms have also produced large hail south of Springfield and a tornado on the ground has been reported near Hillsboro in Montgomery County.
The Chicago area along with much of the surrounding Midwest is included in a slight risk area for severe thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are expected to develop into the area later this evening bringing the possibility of hail, gusty winds and heavy rainfall.
The WGN Weather Center will continue to monitor these storms and bring you the latest information as the situation develops. At this time no severe weather watches or warning are in effect for the Chicago metro area.
The strongest thunderstorms remain south of the immediate Chicago area late this evening.
A wind gust of 66 MPH was recorded at 9:55PM in Champaign, Illinois. The top wind gusts locally have been under 30mph since 9PM.
Temperatures soared into the middle 70s, falling just three degrees shy of the day’s record high of 79 on a warm and very windy Easter Sunday in Chicagoland. Not only was Sunday’s 76-degree high here warmer than the 69 recorded last July 4, but the day featured more impressive meteorological fireworks. Roaring south winds gusted to around 50 mph, setting the stage for an impressive round of late afternoon thunderstorms that brought heavy downpours and hail to the region. Most of the hail targeted the south suburbs where penny-size hail pelted areas near Tinley Park and Worth, and half-inch stones fell in Homer Glen.
Storms may precede cooling
More showers and thunderstorms are expected to erupt across the area Monday night and Tuesday as a major storm system traverses the Midwest. Some of the storms could be severe as the previously quiet 2010 severe weather season quickly revs into high gear. Cold air will sweep into the area on strong north winds in the wake of the storm Thursday, sending the mercury plunging about 40 degrees from Tuesday’s expected highs near 80.
The Chicago area remains on the northern fringe of rather large complex of showers and thunderstorms. The local activity has been rather tame compared to the damaging thunderstorms that have raked across western Illinois and Missouri.
Most of the Chicagoland storms are expected to remain below severe limits with brief heavy downpours, small hail (pea sized or 0.25″) and lightning. Due to rain cooled air and the loss of daytime heating, the main severe threat for the rest of the night will be south of Chicago, in downstate Illinois.
Below: The Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlook for the rest of the night indicating that the highest threat for severe weather will be south of Chicago.
You just told us that we just experienced our earliest back-to-back 80s on March 31-April 1. But what about late March of 1986, when we reached a ridiculous 88-degree high on March 29?
– Brian Beecher
The mercury did soar to an unseasonably warm 88 on March 29, 1986, but officially the highs recorded at O’Hare Airport both the day before and the day after came in just shy of the 80-degree mark at 79. Actually some portions of the metropolitan area did log three straight 80s during that early season warm spell including Midway Airport with mid-summer-level highs of 86, 83 and 85 on March 29-31.
The 88-degree maximum still stands as Chicago’s all-time highest March and early season temperature unsurpassed until April 9-10 when back-to-back highs of 90 occurred in 1930.