Midwest faces ‘nasty’ weather, tornadoes possible

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(CNN) — Severe weather erupted throughout the Midwest on Sunday afternoon, with several tornadoes hitting cities in Illinois and an NFL game interrupted by the storm system.

Large, fast-moving tornadoes touched down near Washington, which is just east of Peoria, and Frankfort, near the southern outskirts of Chicago, the National Weather Service said.

There was extensive damage from the storms, the weather service said.

Tornado watches have been issued from Michigan to Missouri, CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis said. Severe weather threatens 26 states and more than 100 million people, she said.

The NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens was delayed in the first quarter due to severe weather in the Chicago area. Spectators were warned to leave the stands and head for covered areas.

Stronger than normal winds were already blowing at Soldier Field ahead of the main brunt of the storm. Before the game, flags, temporary signs and tents outside the stadium had been removed, CNN affiliate WLS reported.

Forecasters said there was a possibility of intense tornadoes, large hail up to 2 inches in diameter, and damaging wind gusts — some of them greater than 80 mph in and near the watch areas.

The watch area also includes Detroit and Indianapolis.

This is a particularly dangerous situation, the National Weather Service said in a bulletin released Sunday morning.

And a tweet from the weather service in northern Indiana was even more ominous: “The worst decision you could make today is to ignore a severe/tornado warning. These storms will be nasty.”

A tornado watch means that weather conditions exist that can produce tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Conditions are favorable for long-tracked, significant tornadoes across this watch area, the Storm Prediction Center said.

CNN meteorologist Sean Morris contributed to this report

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