Severe storms hit parts of the Chicago area Monday evening following a round of nasty summer storms earlier in the day.
Several southern suburbs saw heavy rain and hail the size of baseballs as storms prompted weather watches and warnings across the entire Chicago area.
Marseilles Police Chief Jim Hovious called the storm's hail the worst he's ever seen.
"I've been here 26 years, it's the worst hail I've ever seen," he said after his windshield was shattered during the storm. "Literally softball-sized hail."
At Terry Bentz Buick in Marseilles, an estimated 50 to 75 cars suffered hail damage, six of them with shattered windshields.
Similar hail was also reported in Ottawa and Burnham along with in East Chicago, Indiana.
Downstate, the rain created a flood emergency in the town of Watseka, which sits on the Iroquois River. Parts of downtown Watseka were closed because of high standing water and residents and city workers rushed to fill sandbags for the area.
The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Watch for several Illinois counties, including all of those in the Chicago area. Severe Thunderstorm warnings were also issued as the storms passed through the area.
Storms were expected to hit all parts of the Chicago area by 8 p.m., moving from the north down south to Northwest Indiana.
Conditions Monday were hot and humid with a high of 87 degrees. Temperatures felt even warmer thanks to high humidity levels in north and east central Illinois.
A Heat Advisory was issued for Lee, LaSalle, Grundy, Kankakee, Livingston, Iroquois and Ford counties Monday. The advisory \was in effect from noon until 7 p.m. with a heat index between 102 and 108 degrees expected.
“While we’ve already seen severe storms in northern Illinois this morning, another storm system expected late afternoon into the evening hours could bring localized flooding from heavy rains, severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts and large hail, and even a chance for tornadoes,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director James K. Joseph said in a statement. “In addition, high temperatures and humidity will cause dangerous heat today, so we encourage people to stay hydrated and cool as much as possible today.”
Earlier in the day, severe thunderstorms were spotted moving southeast toward northern Illinois with wind gusts of up to 70 mph and torrential rainfall reported. The storms brought with them the potential for significant wind damage.
Inbound and outbound trains on all of Metra's Union Pacific lines were halted early Monday morning due to high winds. Service resumed shortly before 7 a.m., but delays were extensive.
"Riders on all those lines should expect extensive delays this morning because the morning rush is a very well-orchestrated movement of trains and anything that takes that out of that order is going to impact that severely," said Metra spokesperson Meg Reile.
The McHenry County Sheriff's office said they received reports of downed trees and power lines in areas including Woodstock and Marengo.
In northwest suburban Barrington, high winds toppled trees onto cars, tore the roof off the Public Works building and brought down a street light. Barrington Police said areas south of Route 59 and Main Street had several trees downed by the storms. A number of homes and businesses were without power, but ComEd had restored service to most customers by Monday night.
No injuries were reported.
A Flash Flood Watch was issued for several Chicago area counties, including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane and DeKalb beginning at 1 a.m. Monday. The watch is set to expire at late Monday night.
Between 1 and 3 inches of rain was expected to fall throughout the day.
Temperature highs will remain in the upper-70s and low- to mid-80s throughout the rest of the week.
Some showers and thunderstorms are possible Tuesday as a cold front moves in, but they are not expected to be severe.