Massachusetts has seen rain yet again this week, and while forecasters warned Wednesday that pattern would continue, recent forecasts say storms are increasingly likely to miss our region. But a severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for a large swath of the northeast, including parts of eastern Massachusetts.
Here’s a look at how the afternoon could develop:
Timing and biggest threats
Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms were expected Wednesday afternoon and evening across Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms were predicted to develop between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Around 5:30 p.m., the weather service said a cold front moved south earlier than expected, bringing dry air to the region.
Why a lack of storms?— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) July 21, 2021
1. Cold front sagged farther S sooner than expected & brought drier air into region.
2. Upper trough (purple line) didn't rotate toward SNE & was pushing showers/storms offshore instead of into our area.
Watch *may* be canceled early. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/uB7N60COzW
Forecasters earlier warned residents across southern New England to watch for possibly damaging wind gusts and large hail, with the greatest risk being south of the Mass Pike. This means that those commuting from work in the evening may encounter bad weather.
These storms are stemming from a cold front that is swinging across the Northeast Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately, this same cold front will also help rid the area of the haze that has come over the Northeast over the past few days from wildfires in the West and Canada, according to the National Weather Service.
Thursday will offer a well-deserved break from the rain with a forecast of sunshine and a high of 78 degrees.
Many are beginning to wonder why Massachusetts has seen such high levels of precipitation this summer.
According to the US Global Change Research Program — it’s climate change. The National Climate Assessment, a study conducted by the organization, found that the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events has increased in the Northeast by 71 percent from 1958 to 2012. Heavy events are defined as the heaviest 1 percent of all daily events.
Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. And as the globe’s temperature increases, the water vapor turns into heavy rain. Future climate projections suggest that the recent trend toward increased heavy precipitation events will continue. So get ready for the possibility of a lot more rainy summers.
Maria Elena Little Endara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.