Strong/severe thunderstorms approaching the Chicago area- Hail, high winds and downpours possible

Strong to severe thunderstorms are developing ahead of a cold front across portions of eastern Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northwest Illinois. The storms are headed east and will reach the Chicago area late this afternoon and early this evening.

In anticipation of the severe weather the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has placed much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin under Severe Thunderstorm Watch #445 valid until 9 pm. The watch extends as far south as the I-80 corridor and north into southeast Wisconsin.

1-inch diameter hail was reported at Beloit in south-central Wisconsin at 3:29 pm and strong wind knocked down power lines at Argyle in southwest Wisconsin earlier this afternoon at 2:18 pm.