By Terry Eliasen, WBZ-TV Meteorologist, Executive Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) – Thunderstorms have been in the forecast for several days now, but for the most part our skies have remained quiet.

Check: Current Conditions | Weather Map Center | Interactive Radar

Read: Tornado Watch Issued For Berkshire County

I am sure most of you aren’t complaining that your Memorial Day Weekend plans were not ruined by a torrential downpour.  While the risk was certainly valid, the atmospheric conditions just didn’t line up over the last few days for any significant shower or storms to develop.

This afternoon and evening promises to be a different story…

Low clouds and fog socked in most of Eastern Massachusetts this morning but hazy sunshine is burning through, and that is the first piece of the puzzle needed for thunderstorm development…the sun.

Temperatures will climb into the 80s and dew points in the 60s mean plenty of available moisture in the air.  The final thing we need for significant thunderstorm development is some sort of trigger.  That will come in the form of a cold front which is now barreling through the Midwest, bringing some severe weather to parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.

While this cold front won’t arrive until late tonight, we will be watching the radar for cells or perhaps a squall line out ahead of this front which could bring some nasty weather into New England later this afternoon and this evening.

Best chance for severe weather is absolutely in Central and Western Massachusetts and parts of southwest New Hampshire…in fact you can almost be sure that showers and thunderstorms will be widespread in those areas come this evening.

As for Eastern Massachusetts, it isn’t so cut and dry.  First of all the timing may be a bit late…during the best heating of the day, most if not all of the best atmospheric “dynamics” (the stuff needed for severe weather development) will be well to the west.  The southwest wind direction is a marine-based direction for extreme east and southeastern Massachusetts and if there is one thing thunderstorms don’t like it is a wind off the cooler ocean water.

So the bottom line is this…the best chance of severe weather today lies in Central and Western Massachusetts and southwest New Hampshire.  The most likely time would be late afternoon through the evening, perhaps as late as overnight in Eastern Massachusetts.

Anyone with outdoor activities planned should stay tuned to later forecasts and keep an eye to the sky and Doppler Radar if possible!

Any storms that do develop may contain large hail, heavy downpours, localized street flooding and frequent/dangerous lightning…not a situation that you want to be caught in off guard.

You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.


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