Weather forecast

Severe Thunderstorms Roll Through New England Amid Intense Heat Wave

Heat index values may reach 106 degrees Thursday

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Our First Alert rolls on through Thursday and Friday as heat and humidity continue to couple for weather that takes a toll on the body. But intense storms also hit parts of New England Thursday afternoon.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued across Massachusetts and into the Boston area, as well as in Rhode Island, Connecticut and southern Vermont. A severe thunderstorm watch had been issued in far western Massachusetts and far southern Vermont through 8 p.m., with wind gusts of 70 mph and hail possible when storms move through the area. See all weather alerts in your area here.

Heat stress on the body can be cumulative, day after day, particularly for those without air conditioning whose bodies never really get to recuperate with warm and sticky nights. Coming off a night where the heat index in Boston only slipped below 80 degrees for a couple of predawn hours and with a day predicted to deliver highs in the middle 90s with widespread heat index values of 100 to 106 degrees, another warm and uncomfortable night Thursday night will only exacerbate the problem.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air quality alert from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Thursday across most eastern and central counties in the state. Air in these areas is expected to be unhealthy for those with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, teenagers and people who are active outdoors.

Haze is common in these hot airmasses, but Thursday’s haze has an extra boost from western U.S. wildfire smoke blowing through our skies over the course of the day. In soupy air like this, we often see thunderstorms, but many communities remained storm-free Wednesday and many more will again Thursday – with some exceptions. Cooler air aloft will allow for some storms to develop in western New England Thursday afternoon, first in the mountains, then expanding further east during the evening. 

Right now, it doesn’t look like a widespread thunderstorm day for central and eastern New England, but it’s likely some storms will develop through the White Mountains and Lakes region, interior Maine…and an isolated late day shower or storm can’t be ruled out in the Worcester Hills, though it much less likely. 

Elsewhere, as these storms weaken and drift east overnight Thursday night, some passing showers are possible. Friday brings a similar day, though the increasing favorability for late day and evening storms nudges east, putting more of New England into that potential while high temperatures soar into the middle 90s again and dew points hold in the 70s, delivering another day of heat index values around 100°. 

A cold front moves through New England from northwest to southeast Saturday, prompting scattered showers and thunder but slowly delivering cooler and less humid air to northern New England, arriving to southern New England by Saturday night and leaving an incredible Sunday of sunshine with pleasant, comfortable air. 

Remarkably, it looks like the new, pleasant weather will persist in New England through most of next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, though a chance of showers remains in the forecast late next week depending upon the eventual track of remnant moisture from what is currently Tropical Depression Fred over the Caribbean – our team will keep you posted.

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