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Tornado watch issued as severe weather outbreak appears more likely

A tornado watch has been issued for the entire Chicago area Tuesday afternoon, with forecasters warning of the potential for “significant” tornadoes as part of a severe weather outbreak.

That watch includes the entire NBC 5 viewing area in northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

In addition, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for DeKalb and Kane counties, with ping pong ball-size hail and wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour possible.

That warning is set to last through 7:15 p.m.

Severe thunderstorms are expected to impact the area in the evening hours ahead of a fast-moving cold front, with tornadoes, damaging hail and gusty winds all expected as part of the storms.

The Storm Prediction Center has also upgraded the entire Chicago area to an “enhanced” risk of severe weather, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour and hail up to two inches in diameter possible along with the possibility of “significant” tornadoes.

According to the SPC, intense thunderstorms are expected to develop Tuesday evening. Those storms could ultimately spawn tornadoes, “some of which may be significant,” according to officials. The main threat for tornadoes will likely develop along and south of Interstate 80, according to the National Weather Service.

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Other threats include heavy downpours and gusty winds, and those threats could impact the entire region. Those wind gusts would hit upwards of 60 miles per hour at times, potentially damaging tree limbs, power lines and unsecured objects outside.

The “enhanced” risk area is likely to see the worst of the hail, two inches or more in diameter, according to the alerts.

The storms are expected to push out of the area by the late evening hours, and once they do, temperatures are going to drop considerably, falling into the 30s overnight and into the 20s by Wednesday morning.

The chance of accumulating snow still exists as the low-pressure system departs the area, with heaviest accumulations expected west of the Chicago area because of the presence of ample moisture and temps that will cool sooner than in other parts of the state.

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