CHICAGO — Stay indoors tonight, a meteorologist advises.
Severe thunderstorms could wreak havoc on the Chicago area with flooding, golf ball-sized hail and possibly tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm will hit about 6 p.m., said National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Seeley. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 10 p.m.
Large hail and damaging winds up to 80 mph could be in store, along with rain accumulations of 2 to 3 inches, according to the weather service. A high of 86 degrees is expected, with a low of about the mid 60s at night.
At worst, northern Illinois and northwest Indiana could face strong tornadoes, said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephan Rodriguez.
A flash flood watch warned that heavy rainfall could produce swift flooding in localized areas of several Illinois counties, including Cook County.
More than 120 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport about 3:30 p.m. Both O'Hare and Midway expected delays for evening flights.
Rush hour metra trains on BNSF, Union Pacific/West, Union Pacific/Northwest and Union Pacific/North lines were delayed an average of 20 to 50 minutes after being briefly completely stopped. Delay updates can be found on Metra's website.
Fireworks, all beer garden music performances and Cirque Shanghai were canceled for Wednesday night at Navy Pier.
The White Sox canceled their 7:10 p.m. game against in Toronto Blue Jays just before 2 p.m. to "ensure fan safety." A makeup game will be announced at a later date.
In the event of a tornado warning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency advises to look for signs of a possible tornado: large hail; a dark, often greenish sky; large, low-lying clouds; and a loud roar that sounds like a freight train. Check reports for the latest information, and be prepared to take shelter immediately.
Stay away from windows and "put as many walls as possible between you and the outside," FEMA's website advises.
Flying debris from tornadoes causes the most fatalities and injuries, according to FEMA, so if you're in a car during a tornado and see flying objects, the government agency advises pulling over and parking. Do not get under an overpass or bridge, FEMA advises. It's best to stay in a low, flat location.
Weather safety information, including what to do during a tornado, is available on FEMA's website Ready.gov.
Storms could continue into Thursday morning until about 8 a.m., according to the weather service. The rest of Thursday and Friday are expected to be storm-free, with highs of about 65 degrees.
Storms could return this weekend.