‘Potentially dangerous’ storms could hammer Chicago area with damaging winds, tornadoes

‘Potentially dangerous’ storms could hammer Chicago area with damaging winds, tornadoes

The Chicago area remains at-risk of severe weather on Tuesday night, with the National Weather Service warning of the possibility of damaging wind gusts and the threat of tornado development in the late evening hours.

According to a hazardous weather outlook released Tuesday afternoon, NWS officials cautioned about an “elevated tornado risk” in association with the storms, which are expected to race across Iowa and Missouri before crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois this afternoon.

Those storms could “outrace” the front that is heading toward the region, thereby robbing them of some fuel, but they are expected to retain their organization and to hammer the area with a variety of severe weather threats.

Those could include the development of tornadoes and wind gusts in excess of 75 miles per hour in some locations, according to officials.

The Storm Prediction Center still has all of northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana at an “enhanced” risk of severe weather, the third of five categories used to estimate the likelihood of the development of severe storms.

The SPC estimates a roughly 10% chance that parts of Chicago’s western suburbs, including McHenry, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, Kendall, and Grundy counties could see a tornado form within a 25-mile radius. That chance drops to 5% in Lake, Cook, DuPage, and Will counties, with a non-zero chance of tornadoes in the rest of the area.

The highest risk of tornadic activity exists along and west of Interstate 39, though tornadoes could form anywhere around the area.

The biggest threat is gusty winds, some of which could exceed 75 miles per hour. The current estimate from SPC indicates a 30% chance of residents experiencing wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour within a 25-mile radius of their location.

The timeline for storm activity is anywhere from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., according to officials, with cooler temperatures arriving behind the front as it rolls through.

Even if severe storms don’t impact specific areas, winds could still gust to 40-to-50 miles per hour, officials say.

Be sure to download the NBC Chicago app for all the latest forecast news, as well as push alerts for watches and warnings in your area ahead of the storms.

In the event of a tornado warning, NBC Chicago will break into regular programming with the latest information, and that newscast will also be available on the NBC Chicago app and on a variety of streaming platforms, including Roku and Xumo.

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