The National Weather Service issued thunderstorm warnings and watches as storms hit the Chicago area this evening.
As a thunderstorm warning was issued for portions of Cook County tonight and a thunderstorm watch for most of northeast Illinois was extended to midnight. A storm dropped hail as large as 1-1/4 inches, hitting O'Hare and heading east through Park Ridge, Niles, Morton Grove and Glenview, as well as Northwest and North Side neighborhoods.
In Niles, a weather service spotter reported half-dollar-sized hail and heavy rain resulting in 3 inches of standing rain in one parking lot in the northwest suburb this evening. The storm pelted northwest and north suburbs and the Far North Side of Chicago with heavy rain and hail, bringing traffic on the Kennedy Expressway to a standstill briefly, flooding many streets and sending tree branches onto homes.
Severe thunderstorms could again hit this evening. The storms could produce hail, wind gusts of more than 60 mph and heavy rainfall, according to the weather service.
The thunderstorm watch covers most of Illinois east of Freeport and south of Kankakee, including all Chicago area counties and the Rockford area, as well as much of Wisconsin south and east of Wisconsin Dells.
Flash floods could hit in areas where the storms dumped heavy rain.
Central and southern Wisconsin already were being hit by some scattered severe storms by about 1:30 p.m., said National Weather Serivce meteologist Matt Friedlein.
"The main threats with this afternoon’s storms would be some large hail and localized damaging winds," Friedlein said.
“Some of the storms tonight could become severe and could also result in isolated heavy rainfall totals and possibly even localized flash flooding,” the weather service said in a statement earlier today.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the low 80s this afternoon, with southwest winds gusting up to 30 mph. The lows overnight will be in the 60s.
There’s a chance for more storms Friday, with an expected high in the upper 70s. The weekend also will see warm temperatures, with highs in the 70s Saturday and high 60s or low 70s Sunday. But a chance of rain will persist through the weekend.
For the latest radar, conditions and forecasts go to the Chicago Weather Center.