Severe thunderstorms erupted this evening in the wake of the warmest day of the year, which brought the season’s first 80-degree temperatures, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. The storms were prolific hail producers with many reports of large hail, ranging in size from quarter to golf ball and hen egg size. At Winnebago, teacup-sized hail, up to 3-inches in diameter, fell causing damage to cars and house siding. As the storms moved east into the Chicago area they began to weaken rapidly, a result of a more stable atmospheric environment.

Strong to severe thunderstorms, that developed ahead of a cold front are also moving into northwest Illinois from eastern Iowa this evening and could impact portions of northern Illinois later this wevening and overnight.

A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for much of northern Illinois and extreme northwest Indiana until 11 pm CDT.