Unseasonable Warmth Brings Severe Weather Threat to Chicago Area

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph, frequent lightning, hail and even isolated tornadoes are possible across the area

Severe weather headed for the Chicago area just before Christmas.

Unseasonably warm and near record-breaking warmth brought the threat of thunderstorms to the area Wednesday. 

Highs rose into the upper-50s and near 60 degrees as rain developed during the afternoon and evening hours, bringing the potential for brief heavy downpours.

Thunderstorms were expected to cover nearly the entire metropolitan area, with damaging winds and possibly even isolated tornadoes possible. 

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph, frequent lightning and hail were possible across northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

There was also a potential threat for an isolated tornado in parts of southern Illinois, particularly in areas south of Interstate 70.

A Tornado Warning was issued just before 11 a.m. for northwestern Iroquois County, central Ford County and southeastern Livingston County. The warning was in effect until 11:15 a.m.

A Tornado Watch was issued Wednesday morning for several southern counties including Champaign, Clay, Jasper, Wayne, Lawrence and Washington counties, among others. The watch remains in effect until 5 p.m.

A Severe Thunderstorm warning was also issued for Iroquois, Ford and Livingston counties and was in effect until 10:15 a.m.

Conditions will stay windy heading into the evening and overnight hours. A Wind Advisory took effect at 6 p.m. as wind gusts of up to 50 mph are possible. The advisory will remain in effect until 3 a.m. Thursday. 

Things will likely clear up for the holidays with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-40s forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The chance for showers moves in again over the weekend with temperatures sitting in the low- to mid-40s.

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