Trains on numerous Metra lines were halted Thursday afternoon as severe weather threatened much of the Chicago area.
Inbound and outbound train movement was halted on the Union Pacific North, West and Northwest lines “due to high winds.” Train no. 1266 scheduled to arrive at Chicago Union Station just before 2 p.m. was stopped at Naperville “due to a severe weather watch.”
How the long the delays would last remained unclear.
A Tornado Watch was issued for the entire Chicago area Thursday until 5 p.m.
Scattered storms began moving into the area during the late-morning hours ahead of a cold front that’s expected to force temperatures to plunge. Some of the storms could potentially be severe, threatening to bring damaging wind gusts of up to 70 mph, lightning, flooding and possibly even quarter-sized hail or an isolated tornado. Heavy rains may also cause localized flooding.
Hail was reported in Homewood, Crystal Lawns, Bolingbrook, Morris, Shorewood, Lakeview, Lyons, Mazon and several other areas as the storms rolled through.
The stronger weather is expected to travel along a line beginning in areas southwest and extending northeast through Chicago.
A Wind Advisory took effect for most of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana beginning at 10 a.m. DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, Cook, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy, Will, McHenry and Kankakee counties are all under the advisory in Illinois, as are Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper, and Benton in northwest Indiana.
The advisory will remain in effect through Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Wind speeds in excess of 50 mph are expected in the southern part of the advisory area, including Kankakee, Will, and Grundy counties, and wind gusts between 45 and 50 mph are expected elsewhere in the advisory area.
In the late evening hours on Thursday, temperatures will begin to drop as the low pressure system continues its push, transitioning any lingering rain to snow showers. By the time Friday rolls around, high temperatures likely won’t reach 40 degrees, as unseasonably cool weather takes hold for several days.
Over the weekend, sunny skies Saturday will give away to potential drizzle or light snow on Sunday, and temperatures will remain in the high-30s or low-40s over the two days.