Severe thunderstorms are bringing an increasing risk of tornadoes to the northeastern Illinois area Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. | Graphic via NWS

Severe thunderstorms moving into the area have prompted forecasters to issue a tornado watch for Lake and McHenry counties and the surrounding northern Illinois area.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a hazardous weather outlook Wednesday morning for Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee, Livingston, Iroquois and Ford counties.

Periods of heavy rain-producing showers and thunderstorms were reported throughout the day Wednesday.

The thunderstorms, which could be severe, are expected to continue into the evening.

Strong to severe storms were developing in northwest Illinois and moving east southeast at approximately 30 mph, the NWS said.

“This includes a threat of damaging tornadoes. Additional hazards include damaging wind and hail,” the outlook says.

The NWS said there is an “increase risk” of tornadoes in northeastern Illinois.

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A tornado watch was issued just before 4 p.m. for all counties that were already under the hazardous weather outlook. The watch is set to expire at 10 p.m.

The highest threat is between the Illinois-Wisconsin border and Interstate 80.

Hail up to two inches in size and damaging wind up to 70 mph are possible during the storms.

The NWS said flooding risk is at an “elevated” level and flash flooding could occur.

Residents are reminded to not walk or drive through floodwaters.

Forecasters said they recommend residents have multiple ways to get weather warnings and take cover if one is issued.