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Chicago Sets A Record For Warmth, But Flooding Possible

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Updated 01/29/13 – 2:30 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago weather can be crazy in January, but this is one for the record books.

First it was record-setting warmth, then violent storms, thanks to a cold front bearing down on the city. By 1 p.m., storms were firing in Peoria and by 2:30 p.m., steady rain was falling in downtown Chicago.

“The threat of severe weather may linger through the evening rush,” said CBS 2 meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist. “Rotating storms are possible. With the moisture and warm temps in place, it wouldn’t take much instability to have damaging winds and possible tornadoes.”

At 8 a.m. the temperature hit 61 degrees, breaking the record of 59 degrees–set back in 1914. The high reached 63 degrees around 12:50 p.m.

Since temperature record-keeping began in 1872, there have only been 33 days in January with temperatures above 60 degrees, the National Weather Service said.

Last night’s heavy rain will continue on Tuesday afternoon/evening and there is a flood watch in effect for Tuesday night. Two inches of rain could fall in in spots, creating runoff and potential flooding.

All this will happen as a cold front comes blasting across the area, colliding with the warm air and creating the storm potential. While Chicago is not at a high risk of severe weather, there is the potential for tornadoes in central and southern Illinois.

Then, folks can expect some snow on Wednesday and temperatures plummet.

By Thursday night lows are likely to be in the single digits.