Thunderstorms capable of becoming severe could spread through the Chicago area on Wednesday, bringing threats of hail, heavy rain, damaging winds and lightning.
The line of storms will cross northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana for several hours with only a brief pause before another round arrives.
Here’s what to expect and when:
On Wednesday morning, forecast models showed the storms forming in Illinois around 3 p.m.
According to NBC 5 Storm team meteorologist Pete Sack, “Once we get into the afternoon ride…that’s when we have those downpours and storms on the way.”
Devastating wind gusts and heavy downpours will be the biggest threat with these storms, which are expected to be widespread across the region. Quarter-size hail, damaging wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour, frequent lightning and localized heavy rain are all possible, according to the NWS.
The entire Chicago area is subject to a “slight” risk of severe weather. According to the Storm Prediction Center, “light” is at level two on a five-point scale ranging from “marginal” to “high.”
Warm and humid conditions ahead of the storms are expected, with temperatures in the 80s to 90s, with afternoon heat indices reaching the mid-90s in some locations, according to the NWS.
In the meantime, an air quality alert remains in effect for the region.
“Ozone and particulate levels should be at unhealthy levels for sensitive groups,” said a tweet from the NWS. “Limit prolonged outdoor activities if you have a chronic respiratory problem.”
Stormy conditions are expected to persist around 10 p.m.
However, the air quality alert is in effect until midnight.
Although some may see things drying up in the late evening and overnight, the risk of lingering showers will continue.
Thursday morning and afternoon
The risk of storms continues Thursday morning, especially for areas east of the I-55 corridor in Illinois and northwestern Indiana, with conditions clearing in the afternoon.
Thursday and weekend temperatures are expected to drop as a cold front moves in, with highs in the mid-70s to lows in the 80s.
Friday and weekend
Despite a brief break between Thursday evening and Friday morning, the chances of rain and storms return before the weekend.
Potential showers could return late Friday evening and continue Saturday and Sunday.