Heat wave ends with a bang as thunderstorms move through Massachusetts

Powerful thunderstorms swept through the state Friday afternoon, bringing the sweltering heat wave to an end with a bang — and plenty of booms.

The storms moved into Greater Boston shortly after 5 p.m., said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton. She said the storms blew through the state at 15 to 20 miles per hour and struck hardest in Central Massachusetts and the MetroWest area.

Vallier-Talbot also said the heaviest rain and strongest systems of the day hit northern and central Connecticut as well as Rhode Island.

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But the cells did bring many lightning strikes to Massachusetts, she said.

In Boylston, a 36-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was struck by lightning on Main Street at about 5:15 p.m., according to police officer Russell Parker.

Vallier-Talbot said reported wind gusts in Boston and on the South Shore were 36 miles per hour in the city and 42 miles per hour in Plymouth. She said approximately half an inch of rain fell in Worcester and .89 inches in Plymouth.

Some areas of the state experienced power outages as a result of the storms.

One of the larger outages occurred in Westborough when National Grid cut power to about 3,000 residents after a motor vehicle accident involving a utility pole, which may have been caused by the weather conditions, said David Graves, a spokesman for the company.

The outage occurred at around 5:54 p.m. and power was restored to residents by 8:15 p.m., he said.

About 2,000 customers in Northborough also lost power due to tree and lightening damage. Power to those customers was restored by 9 p.m., Graves said.

In Worcester, approximately 545 customers were still without power late Friday night because of lightning damage to a utility pole. Graves said he expected power to be restored to the city by late Friday night or Saturday morning.

Mary Ellen Molloy, a spokeswoman for NSTAR, said there were isolated pockets of power outages throughout the state that lasted between one and three hours, but power had been restored by late Friday night.

“Everyone is back up now,” she said.

In the western part of the state, only one outage was reported as of late Friday night, said Mitch Gross, spokesman for Western Massachusetts Electric.

With the temperature reaching 94 by midafternoon Friday, Boston officially qualified for a heat wave (three days in a row of temperatures of 90 or more). No records were broken, however, Vallier-Talbot said.

Alan Dunham, also a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the record high temperature in Boston for Friday was 97, set in 1983, according to weather service archives that date back to 1872.

Thursday did break the high temperature record in Boston, hitting 96 degrees. The previous record for June 21, set in 1923 and 1949, was 95.

Thursday was also a record-setter for the highest minimum temperature for that day. The lowest temperature Thursday was 80 degrees, melting the previous record of 74.

On Saturday, clouds will be present for most of the day, with showers likely in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the low 80s. The weather is expected to improve on Sunday, with mostly sunny skies and humidity expected to drop to normal levels.

The forecast is bleak for next week, however. Though temperatures will be in the 70s, Monday and Tuesday will bring a mix of rain and clouds. Wednesday skies may clear, though, Dunham said.