Intensifying storms are heading toward the Chicago area, bringing threats of potentially destructive hurricane-force winds, damaging hail, lightning, heavy downpours and possibly even a brief tornado Monday.

Severe weather alerts started popping up in northern Illinois, outside the Chicago area, by 11 a.m. The most recent projections indicate the systems will likely reach the outskirts of the metro area by 1 p.m., though the NBC 5 Storm Team warns that timing could shift up to an hour either way.

          Monday Morning                  & Afternoon

The system will likely be fast-moving, with much of the area seeing storms by 3 p.m. The entire Chicago area is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 4 p.m. CT.

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Around 11:45 a.m., a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties in Illinois.

The Chicago area is currently under an "enhanced" risk of severe weather, with the biggest threats being frequent lightning, damaging winds in excess of 75 miles per hour, quarter-size hail and heavy rain, which could possibly lead localized flooding.

And while the risk for a tornado remains low, it can't be ruled out, NBC 5 Storm Team says.The greatest risk for severe conditions, particularly the higher wind gusts, is north of Interstate 80.

By 6 p.m., the system will likely have moved out of the Chicago area. While Monday's temperatures accompanying the storm will remain hot and muggy with highs in the upper-80s, a much quieter pattern of weather is expected to take hold as the week goes on.

Monday Evening and Beyond

Dry, sunny skies and highs in the upper-70s to low-80s are expected not just through the remainder of the work week, but into the Labor Day holiday weekend as well.

Residents are urged to download the NBC Chicago app to receive the latest alerts on severe weather, and for the latest live radar images from across the region.