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Tornado watch canceled; high winds continue in Chicago region

A severe thunder storm approaches Chicago on Monday June 30, 2014. | Sun-Times file photo

A tornado watch that was issued Thursday for the Chicago area has been canceled, although high winds will continue to plague the region into the night.

The National Weather Service canceled its tornado watch shortly before 2:30 p.m. The watch was issued about 12:20 p.m. for northern Illinois and parts of northwest Indiana.

Thunderstorms initially developed over parts of northern Illinois Thursday morning and started moving into the Chicago area after 11 a.m., according to the weather service. The storms tapered off through the mid-afternoon.

A wind advisory remains in effect for the Chicago area until 10 p.m., the weather service said. Sustained south to southwest winds of at least 30 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph are expected.

Trains on Metra’s BNSF Railway and Union Pacific West, Union Pacific North and Milwaukee District West lines were running up to 20 minutes behind schedule because of severe weather, according to service alerts from the transit agency.

Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said the BNSF and Union Pacific lines suspended service briefly because of high wind advisories earlier in the afternoon, but all trains were moving again as of 1:30 p.m. She said riders should check Metra’s service alerts for the latest train information.

A tornado warning was issued for part of Livingston County including the towns of Dwight, Odell and Cornell, but it expired by 11:15 a.m., according to the weather service.

The severe weather comes as the region is seeing its warmest temperatures in months. Chicago recorded a high of 57 degrees on Wednesday, marking the first time temperatures rose above 53 since Oct. 31, according to the weather service. A high of 67 degrees is expected on Thursday.

The 132-day streak of temperatures under 54 degrees was the second-longest such cold streak in the city’s recorded history, the weather service said. The longest recorded stretch of days under 54 degrees lasted for 156 days in 1881.

Slightly colder weather is expected to return into the weekend, according to the weather service. Temperatures could drop to 36 degrees overnight, with a high of 40 forecast for Friday, along with a chance of rain or snow in the morning.

Highs are forecast to stay in the high 30s to mid-40s through Wednesday, the weather service said.