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Storms Bring Huge Hail, Violent Winds

Minooka Hail

Michael Rebresh of Minooka says these enormous hailstones covered the ground after falling for three minutes. (Credit: Michael Rebresh)

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UPDATED 04/04/11 9:09 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) - The unseasonably warm temperatures Sunday evening gave way to pounding thunderstorms and hail amounting to 1 3/4 inches in some places.

By Monday morning, the storms had moved off to central Indiana, but temperatures will be dropping precipitously over the course of the day.

While the skies were silent when the National Weather Service first announced a severe thunderstorm watch, noisy thunderclaps and heavy rain did indeed move into the area around the 11 p.m. hour.

At 11:30 p.m., 1 3/4-inch diameter hail was reported in the far southwest suburban communities of Minooka and Channahon, CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros reported.

Michael Rebresh was just going to bed in at his home in Minooka when the hail hit.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Mike Krauser reports

“All of a sudden, we just start hearing this pounding on the roof,” Rebresh said. “It was just constant. I immediately jumped up. I thought the potential of a tornado was pretty good at that point.”

Rebresh reported the hail lasted for about three minutes, during which time it covered the ground and broke small tree limbs and branches.

“And I mean it was coming down – quarter-sized hail, even larger,” Rebresh told WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser, “Coming down like the dickens; covered the entire ground. It was taking down small branches. It was impressive.”

Joliet saw 3/4-inch marbles of hail near Edison Road while New Lenox saw half-inch hail, he said. Hail measuring 1 1/4-inches in diameter was recorded northwest of Minooka in Kendall County, National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Bardou said.

By the wee hours Monday morning, the rain had stopped, but violent winds blasted and gusted around the city. If 70-plus degree temperatures led you to open your window Sunday night, you likely found that some items on your windowsill ended up on the floor overnight.

As of the 5 a.m. hour, the storms were moving into Fort Wayne and Kokomo, Ind., and south to Indianapolis. In the immediate Chicago area, temperatures remained mild at about 54 degrees, which will be the highest temperature the area will see for the day.

Lingering showers are expected as the day goes on, with the high around 48 degrees in the afternoon as a cold front passes the area and winds pick up again. In the overnight hours, the low drops back down to the freezing temperature of 32.

Highs are expected to be in the 50s and 60s for the rest of the week, but later in the week, a chance of showers is forecast for every day from Thursday through Sunday.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.