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Severe storms damage homes, cause flash floods on Sunday

Nearly 31,000 people temporarily without power on Sunday afternoon

A storm rolled through Boston. Several cars were damaged when lightning brought down tree branches at E. Eighth and Old Harbor streets.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Thunderstorms with heavy rain and flooding tore through much of Massachusetts late Sunday afternoon and evening, leaving nearly 31,000 people temporarily without power and damaging several buildings in the eastern part of the state.

Severe storm and flood warnings were issued for several areas in central and eastern Massachusetts throughout Sunday evening. Forecasters predicted late Sunday that the rain would dissipate overnight, ushering in muggy weather with low temperatures in the mid-60s.

The severe storms damaged homes in parts of Middlesex and Essex counties. Somerville fire officials responded to a two-alarm fire on Munroe Street shortly after 5 p.m. A lightning strike that hit the roof ignited a fire in the ceiling of the home’s third floor, according to deputy chief Frank Lee. The building had no current occupants and no one was injured, he said. Fire officials from surrounding communities helped put out the fire, and the scene was clear by 7:20 p.m.

Winds downed at least three trees in Salem, where another lightning strike damaged a building under construction at 72 Flint Street around 5:17 p.m., deputy fire chief Keith Pelletier said. The fire was out less than 15 minutes later, he said.


Another small fire was reported on Gale Road in Belmont after lightning struck a building around 5:30 p.m. A dispatcher said early Sunday evening that the fire had been extinguished.

At least one downed tree caused damage to five cars in South Boston. Ricky Arthur, a resident of Dorchester, was visiting his father-in-law when a tree came down on top of his car around 5 p.m. The car, which was parked near the intersection of E. Eighth and Old Harbor Streets, sustained damage to the hood.

“It’s driveable for now,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the long run.”


Chris Harris’s car was also dented by the falling tree. The Weymouth resident, who was visiting his girlfriend and baby, was enjoying the first day of his vacation when he looked out the window and saw the vehicle covered in leaves.

“It’s a little upsetting,” he said.

A storm rolled through Boston and five cars were damaged when lightning brought down tree branches at E. Eighth and Old Harbor streets. The rear window of the fifth car is shattered.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

In Concord, officials closed a section of College Road after a tree fell on some power wires. Residents in Saugus also posted pictures and videos online of trees down in the middle of roads and appeared to be pea-sized hail.

Two people were rescued from an overturned sailboat by Good Samaritans who spotted the distressed boat in the Boston Harbor on Sunday evening, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Briana Carter. The 34-foot boat was floating near the Boston Light lighthouse on Little Brewster Island. Information about the two people’s condition was not immediately available.

A storm ripped through Boston Harbor on Sunday. Joe Berkeley

A severe storm was located over Lynn around 5:15 p.m. and was moving east at about 15 miles per hour, officials said. Heavy thunder could be heard over Medford around 4:45 p.m., and at 5 p.m. lightning was seen over Boston.

National Weather Service meteorologists urged people in areas impacted by the storm to move to the lowest room of the building.

About 31,000 people had lost power around 6:45 p.m., though that number dwindled to about 18,00 by 11 p.m., according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Nearly 7,000 homes lost power in Melrose early Sunday evening, and about 1,400 of those homes remained without power around 10:30 p.m. Around that time another 800 were still without power in West Brookfield.


Globe correspondents Caroline Enos and Alyssa Lukpat contributed to this report.