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4th Of July Forecast: Pop-Up Thunderstorm Threat

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer
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BOSTON (CBS) – If you woke up early enough this morning, no doubt you were a little concerned seeing the showers and downpours that came through to start this 4th of July.

Check: Current Conditions | Weather Maps | Interactive Radar

Those showers are now long gone and are being replaced by hazy sunshine across southern New England. If only that were the end of the weather story today, how easy it would be!

The rest of today will be pretty typical of early July, plenty of sunshine, temperatures warming well into the 80’s and humidity spiking, making it feel even hotter.

And what hot, humid July day would be complete without a threat of thunderstorms.

The hot sun will go to work by midday and early afternoon, heating the air at ground level, causing it to rise quickly into the atmosphere, condensing it into water vapor and finally big puffy cumulus clouds.  These clouds will build during the afternoon, some of them rising into tall towers, some of them becoming thunderstorms.

It won’t be anything that organized, no squalls lines or long lasting severe weather outbreaks, but more your garden variety, pop-up thunderstorms.

They will move quickly, not lasting more than 20-30 minutes in any one place, delivering a quick downpour and perhaps a bit of lightning, but at this point the atmosphere does not appear primed for any of them to become severe.

A “cap” is likely to be in place – warmer air at upper levels of the atmosphere, slowing or stopping the rising currents of air needed for any significant thunderstorm development.

The time frame is to watch is 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the location is really anywhere with a slight edge to northeastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Anyone with outdoor plans today should keep the storm threat in the back of their mind, no matter where you are in New England, keep an eye to the sky and if possible, another one on our radar.

You may need to seek shelter for a short period of time before resuming your outdoor fun.

So pack the sunscreen along with the dogs and burgers, stay cool and stay safe.

Enjoy your 4th!

You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.

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