UPDATED: 6/12/2013 3:40 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The National Weather Service was anticipating a major severe weather outbreak in the Chicago area, starting Wednesday afternoon, with the likelihood of very strong storms, large hail, high winds, and a risk of tornadoes.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros reports there is a high risk for severe weather, a rarity for the Chicago area. It’s something more common in Tornado Alley in the central part of the country around Oklahoma and Kansas.
Strong storms in counties west of Chicagoland began to fire up around 3:40 p.m. Storms will continue through as late as 10 p.m. The highest chance of the most severe weather will happen around rush hour and continue into the evening.
In Lee and Ogle counties, a Tornado Warning was issued around 3:50 p.m., and is expected to expire at 4:30 p.m.
A Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for the entire Chicago area until 9 p.m.
A Tornado Watch has been issued until 9 p.m. for portions of the Chicago area, including DeKalb, Kendall and McHenry counties. Other counties under the watch are farther west and northwest of Chicago. In its alerts, the National Weather Service has labled the forecast “PDS”–Particularly Dangerous Situation.
The NWS is also predicting a 15 percent possibility of tornadoes in the area. A total of 2 to 3 inches of rain could fall by Thursday morning.