Dazzling lightning as storms ripped through Chicago Tuesday (PHOTOS)

A complex of thunderstorms burst through the Chicago area Tuesday evening putting on a phenomenal lightning display.

The storms formed ahead of a cold front advancing towards the East Coast today, and which may ignite strong storms in the Washington, D.C. area this afternoon and evening.

In the Windy City, thousands of lightning strikes were detected as the storms passed by.

Here’s a compilation of lightning photos from Twitter:

West of Chicago, in Aurora, the storm was a prolific hail producer, dropping stones to golfball-size.  A picture:

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D.C. area forecast: Scattered showers and storms a threat today; looking toward a mostly nice holiday weekend