Peoria, Ill. (HOI ABC) - A strong cold front will move through the area this evening, and ahead of it, we are in a warm and unstable atmosphere. This will provide fuel for thunderstorm formation this afternoon, and storms will continue to strengthen and become more widespread as they move east this evening.
Initially, we may see a few individual cells forming, but these will quickly congeal into a linear structure which will help support a high wind threat within any thunderstorms. Large hail will not be a primary concern, especially once the squall line establishes itself, but any discrete storms will have the capability of producing hail up to 1" in diameter.
Given some low level turning of our winds, a tornado threat can't be completely ruled out. I think the best chance for any tornadoes would be in any individual cells that form. However, a brief spin-up may still be possible within the squall line.
Storms will form within the next couple of hours near the Mississippi River, and then move quickly into areas west of the Illinois River by 4-5 PM. These storms will then continue to move east into the Illinois River Valley by 5-7 PM, and then approach I-55 by 7-9 PM. Storms will be moving toward I-57 by 10 PM, which will bring an end to our severe weather threat.
High winds will be the primary threats within any thunderstorms this evening. Our strongest storms could produce severe wind gusts as high as 60-65 mph. However, isolated large hail up to 1" in diameter and a tornado or two may be possible as well.
We'll continue to monitor these storms as they develop and move into our area. Make sure that you have ways to recieve any severe weather alerts, including a NOAA Weather Radio and our Heart of Illinois ABC app. You can also track storms when they move into our area on our app using interactive radar.
We'll keep you updated on our severe weather threat on social media this evening, as well as our 5, 5:30, and 10 PM newscasts.