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BLOOMINGTON — A tornado watch has been lifted for most of Central Illinois, but a wind advisory remains in place until Thursday night.

The tornado was lifted Thursday afternoon for McLean, Ford, DeWitt and Livingston counties. Thunderstorms have moved through the area and are likely to linger through the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Lincoln — though the sun broke through in the Twin Cities around 12:30 p.m.

The wind advisory will be in effect until 10 p.m. due to strong winds lasting most of the day, according to the NWS.

Winds out of the southwest from 25 to 35 mph will gust up to 55 mph, with the strongest winds east of Interstate 55, said NWS forecasters. Driving will be difficult for high-profile vehicles, such as semitrailers. Unsecured light-weight objects, such as garbage cans, could be blown around and minor tree and property damage is possible.

Counties included in the wind advisory include McLean, DeWitt, Logan, Tazewell and Woodford.

Forecaster said in McLean County, the winds will be strong into Thursday evening, with potential gusts as high as 48 mph. 

The system is part of what forecasters call a “bomb cyclone” that results when there is a rapid pressure drop. It is part of an intense storm expected to bring hurricane-force wind gusts, blizzard conditions and a flood threat across a swath of the U.S. heartland.

Watches, warnings and advisories for the storm cover about 1.5 million square miles, which is roughly half of the area of the continental U.S., stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.

Thursday also will be the warmest day of the year so far, with a high near 64 degrees and a 40 percent chance of showers, forecasters said. There is a slight chance of a thunderstorm, but the storms are not expected to be severe. Severe storms are possible in east central Illinois and in western Indiana later Thursday.

It will turn colder on Friday with a chance of rain and snow showers before 1 p.m. Friday’s high will be around 39 degrees. On Saturday, it will be sunny with a high near 41 degrees and highs near 50 degrees are in the forecast for Sunday through Wednesday.

Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow

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Agriculture Reporter

Agriculture reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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