As intensifying low pressure moves east out of the central plains and tracks across southern Iowa today through central Illinois tonight, east to northeast winds will gradually strengthen over the Chicago area, gusting to 30-35 mph inland and 40-45 mph on Lake Michigan. Small Craft Advisories are in effect today along the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline waters with 7 to 9-foot waves expected. A Gale Warning will take effect later this afternoon and run until Friday evening with 12 to 16 –foot waves forecast for the open waters.
With the building waves today and high wave action resulting in dangerous rip currents and hazardous swimming conditions, a Beach Hazards Statement is in effect for the northern Indiana Lake and Porter Counties beaches today and will take effect later tonight and continue until Friday evening along the Lake and Cook County, Illinois beaches.
The National Storm Prediction Center has a good portion of Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas in an Enhanced Risk of severe storms today (tan-shaded area on the headlined map) into tonight with much of Missouri into the southern half of Illinois under a Slight Risk (yellow-shaded). The Marginal Risk (dark-green-shaded area) extends north into the portion of the Chicago area south of Interstate-80. The Thunderstorm Outlook has northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana in a 10 to 20 percent chance of thunderstorms within 12 miles of a given location (brown-shaded area on the thunderstorm outlook maps below).