Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible in the Chicago and surrounding Illinois area Sunday afternoon into the evening, according to the National Weather Service. | Graphic via NWS

Thunderstorms could bring damaging winds and a “brief tornado” to the northern Illinois area Sunday afternoon into the evening, the National Weather Service said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 7 p.m. Sunday.

The watch covers Lake, McHenry, Boone, DeKalb, Kane, Winnebago, Stephenson, Bureau, Henry, Ogle, Whiteside, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee and Putnam counties.

Thunderstorms are developing out west and are beginning to push into areas near and just west of Interstate 39 around 3 p.m.

Storms will then progress eastward across the Chicago metro from the late afternoon into the evening, the NWS said.

The primary threat for strong to severe storms sits north of Interstate 80 from the late afternoon through mid-evening.

Lightning and heavy downpours are expected with all of the storms.

Stronger storms that develop will be capable of producing damaging winds and possibly a “brief tornado” or two, the NWS said. Small hail is also possible.

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Thunderstorms are expected to move into McHenry County by 3-4 p.m.

The weather service recommends residents move indoors if they hear thunder and have multiple ways to receive warnings.