Update: 5:15 p.m.: The tornado warning has expired. DeKalb County remains under a tornado watch until 9 p.m.
Update 5:03 p.m.: There have been multiple reports of a confirmed tornado touching the ground in Somonauk at 4:56 p.m. A funnel cloud had been spotted earlier in Paw Paw.
Update 4:30 p.m.: Southern DeKalb County is under a tornado warning until 5:15 p.m. Residents should take cover now in the lowest level of a sturdy building. A funnel cloud was reported near Paw Paw at 4:21 p.m. according to the National Weather Service.
Marble-sized hail is being reported in the southern portion of the county.
Update: DeKalb County is under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. tonight, a severe thunderstorm warning until 5:15 p.m. and a flash flood watch from 4 p.m. today through 4 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
The NWS has also issued a hazardous weather outlook for the area. It includes:
• Numerous thunderstorms. Some could produce:
• Strong tornadoes
• Damaging winds in excess of 75 mph
• Baseball-sized hail
• Very heavy rainfall which could include flash flooding.
Storms are expected to develop early this afternoon and become more widespread later this afternoon.
Stay with www.daily-chronicle.com for more as this develops.
Original story begins here:
DeKALB – A series of thunderstorms likely will roll into the DeKalb area this afternoon, with the chance of damaging winds, hail and tornadoes increasing throughout the day.
Gilbert Sebenste, staff meteorologist for Northern Illinois University, said warm southerly winds and low air pressure will generate thunderstorms ahead of a storm system that is moving across the central United States.
“Given how unstable the air is expected to get, and with good wind shear, we’re expecting a line of severe thunderstorms to move through the area tomorrow afternoon,” he said.
By Sebenste’s estimation, DeKalb will be hit by thunderstorms early today morning, and again in the afternoon.
Damaging winds will be the prominent threat, Sebenste said. There was a 55 percent chance of the afternoon storms producing winds faster than 58 mph, and a 35 percent chance of producing winds faster than 70 miles per hour, he said.
But there was a 15 percent chance of the afternoon storms producing hail, and a 10 percent chance of producing tornadoes, Sebenste said.
Sunshine won’t be a good sign, either.
“The more sunshine we get tomorrow, the more severe the thunderstorms are likely to be,” Sebenste said. “The warmer temperatures is what makes the atmosphere unstable. The more energy the storms will have.”
The last time a tornado hit Northern Illinois University was in 1981, when a funnel cloud touched down near a residence hall. In 1994, a tornado destroyed a house on Cherry Road in DeKalb. A tornado is expected at NIU once every 50 years, and the city every 30 years, Sebenste estimated.