Storms bringing potentially damaging wind, large hail and brief but heavy rain could descend on the Chicago area Thursday afternoon and evening ahead of a cooling trend expected to drop temperatures for the weekend.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for 14 counties across Northeast and North Central Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.
The affected counties include DeKalb, McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Will, Kendall, Grundy, and LaSalle. The watch will expire at 9 p.m. on Thursday night, according to the NWS.
Weather models show storms crossing the area between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., with the strongest band hitting Chicago around the start of the Bears' first preseason game.
As of the afternoon, parts of the area were under a slight risk category for strong to severe storms.
Most of the rain likely will clear the area by around 10 p.m. with a few showers lingering in far southern counties and in northwest Indiana.
The rest of the day remains dry, with high temperatures in the low to mid-80s. Conditions are expected to turn partly to mostly cloudy, breezy and a little more humid Thursday afternoon as scattered showers and storms develop.
Temperatures fall to the low 60s inland ahead of a cooler Friday that could see a few spotty showers.
The weekend remains on the cool side, with highs in the upper 70s and cooler near the lakefront. Things warm up for the start of next week thanks to partly sunny conditions and highs in the 80s.