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Forecasters upgrade McHenry County tornado risk

Forecasters elevated McHenry County's risk of seeing a significant tornado this afternoon and evening.

While all of northern Illinois is at a risk of a severe weather outbreak today, the National Weather Service early this afternoon expanded its area at risk of an EF-2 tornado or greater to all but northeastern McHenry County. The risk this morning had been confined to far western McHenry County and north central Illinois.

McHenry County and north central Illinois will most likely see severe storms between 4 and 8 p.m., according to the updated forecast, with the threat moving southeast with time.

Other threats include widespread damaging winds and large hail, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center

The most significant threat will be high winds, which the National Weather Service Chicago office warned could gust in excess of 58 mph. The area also is at an elevated risk for hail of golf ball size or larger.

McHenry County and the rest of northeastern Illinois is under a flash flood watch until 1 a.m. Thursday.

Homes should have an all-hazards weather radio that sounds an alarm when severe weather watches and warnings are issued. Do not rely on getting warning from sirens, which have limited range and are meant to warn people outdoors to seek shelter.

You also can download weather warning apps for your smartphone and sign up for text alerts – the Northwest Herald sends out such alerts.

Stay tuned to local media and pay attention to forecasts for the latest information. For tips on how to be prepared for severe weather and other emergencies, visit the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency website at http://shawurl.com/2o21.

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