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Heavy winds, storms march through Bay State

A branch hung on the power lines and fallen limbs covered the front yard of this Lexington home after storms swept through the area Monday evening.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

A branch hung on the power lines and fallen limbs covered the front yard of this Lexington home after storms swept through the area Monday evening.

A series of powerful thunderstorms rumbled through Massachusetts Monday, bringing strong winds and heavy rain, along with a threat of tornadoes.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings as the storms marched east, at one point sweeping north of Boston into the ocean.

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At 5:55 p.m., a trained spotter in Lynn reported a funnel cloud to the west, the weather service in Taunton said. It was also caught on a webcam from a different angle at Fenway Park, but there were no confirmed reports of a tornado.

A severe thunderstorm warning expired at 7 p.m. in the Boston area, forecasters said. Another severe storm warning that was issued for central Worcester and Middlesex counties was expected to expire at about 9:30 p.m.

“We’ve got reports of trees down, trees on houses, lightning strikes, a couple of hail reports,” said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, a meteorologist at the Weather Service. One report, she said, cited “nickel-sized’’ hail in Lunenburg.

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Downed trees and power lines were reported, and heavy downpours drenched parts of the state. Fitchburg experienced flash flooding. “Some of our streets are looking like rivers,” said Mayor Lisa A. Wong.

She said the city was faring well, though, as the heavy storms cut across the area. “So far so good, there’s nothing major,” said Wong. “We’ve had lots of phone calls about trees down, some power lines down.”

Wong said Fitchburg has been trimming trees at a high rate since an ice storm hit in 2008. The city has also been separating sewer lines to help with storm drainage. “It looks like it’s paying off,” she said. “We’re kind of getting instant gratification.”

Forecasters had warned that strong to severe thunderstorms in eastern New York state could move into Western Massachusetts between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

National Grid reported 5,603 outages at about 8:30 p.m., while NStar reported 5,639 customers without power. Despite heavy rain and strong winds, State Police said t that there had been no weather-related accidents reported on the highways.

Forecasters say thunderstorms may be a daily occurrence until midweek.

“We’re expecting more showers and storms off and on through Wednesday,” said Vallier-Talbot, “mostly in the afternoon and evening hours.”

The weather is expected to be muggy and humid, and the storms may even carry into Thursday, she said.

Tuesday will probably start out sunny and warm with temperatures reaching the low 90s. By Tuesday night, there is a possibility of showers and strong thunderstorms. Temperatures will probably fall to the low 70s. Strong winds are possible again, with gusts up to 30 miles per hour.

Wednesday will have a higher chance of widespread showers and thunderstorms, say forecasters, with high temperatures in the upper 80s. The chance for rain continues into the evening, mainly before 11 p.m.

Thursday could be stormy again, depending on how quickly a cold front moves over the region, said the Weather Service. Temperatures may begin to fall, with the high remaining in the low 80s.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com. Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson@
globe.com
. Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@
globe.com
.
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