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Friday evening thunderstorms fell trees; lightning causes fires, power outages

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for much of Massachusetts and New England until 8 p.m. Friday.National Weather Service

Thunderstorms swept across Massachusetts on Friday evening, causing downed trees, lightning strikes, and minor flooding in some areas, officials said.

The storms hit hardest in the Greater Worcester area but were brief and had begun to wind down by about 6 p.m., according to Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.

There was relatively little rain accumulation associated with the storm, Simpson said. Sutton and Douglas both reported 1.64 inches of rain, among the highest totals, he said.

Downed trees were reported in Worcester, where one fell onto a home near Ludlow and Main streets, and in Natick, where a tree fell on Fourth Street, Simpson said.


The Watertown Fire Department responded to a house fire on North Beacon Street shortly after 4 p.m. Investigators were trying to determine if lightning was a factor in that blaze, which quickly grew to two alarms, officials said.

A tree was apparently struck by lightning near the Dover-Wellesley border; the ensuing fire was extinguished by the Dover Fire Department, according to Wellesley police, who also reported a lightning strike to a garage on Weston Road. The Auburn Fire Rescue Department responded to a report of a lightning strike near 24 Bridle Path, officials said.

There was also flooding in Wellesley in areas including Weston Road near Central Street, police said. Simpson said the storm caused some urban street flooding in areas with poor drainage but no real flash flooding.

The storms also caused power outages. There were more than 2,800 electricity customers across the state without power at about 11:45 p.m. according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s online outage map.

The cold front that brought the storms will also bring an air mass with less humidity and dryer conditions to the region for the weekend, making for “a nice break from the [hot] weather” the area has been experiencing, Simpson said.


Saturday will be sunny with highs around 80, and Sunday will be mostly sunny and slightly cooler, with highs in the upper 70s, forecasters said.

Emily Sweeney of the Globe Staff contributed to this story.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.