Severe Thunderstorms Pound New England, Bring Tornado Warnings

Thousands of people were without power in the Merrimack Valley after storms passed through the area

Strings of damaging storms caused people across New England to take shelter Wednesday afternoon and evening as the National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for hours.

The storms brought lightning, wind damage and even funnel clouds, though no confirmed tornadoes so far.

Two rounds of tornado warnings were issued: first for parts of Essex County in Massachusetts, then in southern and central New Hampshire and in northern Connecticut. The Glastonbury, Connecticut, area got very rare back-to-back tornado warnings.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued across huge portions of New England as the storms lit up the skies and dumped heavy rain.

The rest of the night was muggy with slow clearing, then patchy, dense fog for sunrise with low temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees for many.

The first tornado warning Wednesday was issued around 2:48 p.m. for a storm over the Groveland/Haverhill area, moving northeast. A funnel cloud was spotted over Newbury, but it has not been confirmed as a tornado.

That storm caused power outages in the Merrimack Valley. More than 9,000 customers were without power in Haverhill and neighboring Groveland was briefly in the dark.

The storm produced torrential rain and "constant thunder" that lasted 10-15 minutes in Amesbury, resident Paul DeCristoforo said. He said he's never seen a storm like this in Massachusetts before.

"It was crazy. My dog looked at me and she went right under the bed," he said.

Trees and wires were reported down in several areas, including Methuen, Massachusetts, and Farmington, Connecticut.

Street flooding was also reported in Haverhill, and a church was reportedly struck by lightning in Tyngsboro.

A relatively rural part of New Hampshire received the next tornado warning, followed by Connecticut, where Tolland County was the subject of two tornado warnings.

A hot and humid Thursday is in store for most of the region, with high temperatures close to 90 degrees. The front causing Wednesday's severe weather is still close enough that it may cause a few more rounds of heavy weather Thursday afternoon. But it's not expected to bring as much widespread thunderstorm activity.

A final wave of low pressure will move along the front early Friday with another period of rain and possible thunder from Connecticut to Cape Cod. That will be followd by bona fide nice Canadian air moving in that afternoon afternoon and for most of the weekend.

High temperatures on Friday will be close to 80 degrees, trending cooler north.

A massive high-pressure system moving to southeastern Canada should bring plenty of sunshine for most of New England this weekend. High temperature on Saturday in the 70s, with more sun than clouds. But we may end up with more of an ocean flow on Sunday with a weather system developing well south of us. That may mean more clouds and a chance of showers along the south coast by later Sunday into Sunday night. There's still a chance we stay totally dry.

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