Powerful storm moving east as the D.C.-to-Boston corridor braces for rush-hour rain

Rain and high winds blew through huge parts of the Midwest and the East Coast on Wednesday, a day after much of the country experienced record high temperatures.

There were reports of six tornadoes, five of them in northern Illinois and one in Michigan, from Tuesday to Wednesday mornings.

The tornadoes were among the first ever recorded in February in metropolitan Chicago.

About 123 million people lived in regions with high wind alerts on Wednesday, with forecasts of at least 39 mph in Chicago; Buffalo, New York; Boston; and Atlanta.

The heaviest rains in the Northeast were expected to fall on New York City from 5 to 9 p.m.; on Washington, D.C., from 4 to 7 p.m.; and on Boston from 6 to 11 p.m.

Threats of heavy rain also triggered flood watches in some regions of northern New England and the Ohio River Valley.

The weather whiplash from Tuesday to Wednesday included:

  • The mercury dipped into the 20s, with windchills in the teens, in Chicago. The high had reached the low 70s on Tuesday.

  • Residents shivered in Kansas City, Missouri, where windchill temperatures near zero followed highs in the low 70s on Tuesday.

  • A windchill of minus-14 was recorded Wednesday morning in Minneapolis after a high of 53 on Tuesday.

  • Residents woke up to a windchill of minus-9 in Des Moines, Iowa, after it was 64 degrees at one point Tuesday.

  • A 15-degree windchill was recorded in St. Louis on Wednesday morning after a summerlike 86 degrees Tuesday.

Ninety-two record high temperatures were recorded Tuesday from the southern Plains to the Northeast.

Despite gloomy weather in much of the country, some pockets still looked forward to well-above-normal temperatures Wednesday.

  • Rain will not extinguish an unseasonably warm 61 degrees in Albany, New York.

  • Even with wind and rain, the mercury could still reach 60 degrees in Burlington, Vermont.

  • It was expected to reach 67 degrees by lunchtime in Syracuse, New York.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Nevada mountain range braced for its heaviest snow of the season. Five to 10 feet of snow could fall on communities between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park from Thursday to Sunday.

Drivers near the park have been told to get chains ready for travel in the region starting Thursday.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com