Severe thunderstorms, some producing tornadoes, are beginning to develop across the Midwest this afternoon.

A potent storm tracking through this region is tapping into a warm, moist air mass, setting the stage for widespread showers and strong thunderstorms.

Several tornado watches are now in effect from southeastern Missouri through much of Illinois, Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota.

The area closer to the center of the storm stands the greatest chance for tornadoes through this evening. Outside of the tornado threat, damaging wind gusts to 70 mph, hail to the size of baseballs, and flooding downpours are likely.

Travelers could be forced to navigate detours around street flooding as well. Do not put your life at risk by attempting to drive through flooded roads.

Cities which could encounter severe storms over the next couple of hours include Chicago, St. Louis, Madison, Wis., and Dubuque, Iowa.

Several funnel clouds were already reported this afternoon across Hutchinson and Dakota counties in Minnesota.

This same storm system will also trigger destructive thunderstorms across the Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys, affecting cities such as Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and Little Rock, Ark.

From (find the original story here); reprinted with permission.