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Thousands without power after strong thunderstorms roll through

Severe thunderstorms across the Boston region on Wednesday
Severe thunderstorms hit Boston and the area on Wednesday afternoon.

Violent thunderstorms rolled through Massachusetts late Wednesday afternoon, knocking out power to thousands, downing trees and power lines, and sparking at least one fire, area officials said.

A microburst was recorded at Boston’s Logan International Airport, where winds topped more than 70 miles per hour. At one point, more than 12,000 customers were without power across the state, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

A large number were located on Cape Ann, where thousands of customers in Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport lost power. By 11:15 p.m, the number of power outages statewide had fallen to 2,089 , according to MEMA.

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Much of the heavy rain, wind, and lightning struck at the start of the evening commute, reducing traffic on major roadways to a crawl.

A 2½-story house on Childs Street in Lynn caught fire after being struck by lightning, the city’s fire department tweeted.

“First arriving companies have smoke showing as a result of a lightning strike,” the tweet said. The fire was knocked down by 5:30 p.m., the department said.

A tree fell across power lines on Lowell Street in Cambridge.
A tree fell across power lines on Lowell Street in Cambridge.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Shortly after 5 p.m., weather service radar indicated the storms were mainly rolling out to sea.

High wind gusts, including one that reached 73 miles per hour, were reported at Logan Airport. Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the weather service, said a microburst occurred at the airport at 3:53 p.m.

The severe weather forced the airport to shut down temporarily, with arrivals and departures halted for a “short period of time,” but they resumed by 5:15 p.m., Massport spokeswoman Jennifer Mehigan said.

Simpson said about three-quarters of an inch of rain fell on parts of Greater Boston during a 20-minute period Wednesday afternoon.

The storms broke the state’s four-day heat wave.

As of 10:00 p.m., the temperature at Logan was 74 degrees, down from a high of 94 degrees recorded at 2:47 p.m., Simpson said.

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The showers and thunderstorms could linger into Thursday and the weekend.

The cooldown they bring won’t be too dramatic, however. High temperatures in Boston on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are forecast to be 85, 82, and 85, respectively, according to the weather service.

RELATED: These photos show how sudden and serious today’s thunderstorms are

Screenshot via weather.gov/box

Martin Finucane and Jaclyn Reiss of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Adam Sennott can be reached at adam.sennott@globe.com