A low pressure system that dumped snow across the Rockies and the Great Plains brought severe thunderstorms and high winds to much of the Chicago area Thursday, downing trees and leaving thousands without power.
Scattered storms began moving into the area during the late-morning hours ahead of a cold front that's expected to force temperatures to plunge. The storms brought with them damaging wind gusts, lightning, flooding, hail and the threat of an isolated tornado.
A Tornado Watch was also issued for the entire Chicago area throughout the afternoon. That watch expired in Illinois around 2:30 p.m. and in northwest Indiana not long after.
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Hail was reported across several counties as the storms rolled through. Thousands were left without power in the aftermath.
As of 6 p.m., nearly 2,700 ComEd customers were without power in Cook County, while over 700 were without electricity in DuPage County, according to the utility company.
A Wind Advisory took effect for most of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana beginning at 10 a.m. DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, Cook, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy, Will, McHenry and Kankakee counties are all under the advisory in Illinois, as are Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper, and Benton in northwest Indiana.
The advisory will remain in effect through Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Wind speeds in excess of 50 mph are expected in the southern part of the advisory area, including Kankakee, Will, and Grundy counties, and wind gusts between 45 and 50 mph are expected elsewhere in the advisory area.
In the late evening hours on Thursday, temperatures will begin to drop as the low pressure system continues its push, transitioning any lingering rain to snow showers. By the time Friday rolls around, high temperatures likely won’t reach 40 degrees, as unseasonably cool weather takes hold for several days.
Over the weekend, sunny skies Saturday will give away to potential drizzle or light snow on Sunday, and temperatures will remain in the high-30s or low-40s over the two days.