Strong storms are rolling across the Illinois region this evening as a low pressure system connected to a frontal boundary moves eastward, on a mission to bring cooler temperatures to the Midwest. These storms are producing lightning, mainly in central IL.
Image from StrikeStar
StrikeStar lightning services has detected many lightning strikes in the state of Illinois this evening. The storms are moving eastward at this time, and we believe that these storms will exit Illinois by midnight.
The NHC is currently forecasting Rina to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane, considered a major hurricane status. Rina is then forecast to make a sharp turn to the north, potentially striking Mexico. At this time, there is a real concern that Rina will hit Mexico as a major hurricane. If you have family and/or friends in this area under the hurricane warning (dark red), advise them to leave ASAP.
Microwave imagery shows an impressively built Rina, with two strong bands of Rina showing up on this imagery. The eyewall is very well built, and Rina looks very strong and in a conductive environment. I would be surprised if the eyewall was not a brighter red or showed signs of strengthening by tonight.
The last hurricane hunter craft to fly though Rina found widespread tropical storm winds, and the hurricane winds kept very close to the center. This tight wrap of stronger winds should expand by at least a bit as more strengthening occurs in Rina.