Sizzling day could end with the boom of thunderstorms

After a sizzling day that sent temperatures into record territory, strong thunderstorms are marching east this afternoon across Massachusetts, armed with potentially damaging winds and large hail.

As of 5:30 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for an area in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. Weather service radar showed a line of storms sweeping across the area.

The rain borne by the storms will provide some relief this evening after a sweltering day. The mercury reached 95 degrees at 2:25 p.m. at Logan International Airport, tying the record high set in 1976, the National Weather Service said. The temperature at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., reached 94 at 2:42 p.m., tying the record high set there in 1975.

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But the heat will return Tuesday, which could be even hotter, meteorologist Charlie Foley said, with a possible high of 97 in Boston.

With the temperature Sunday reaching 91, Boston looked like it was headed for its first official heat wave. The official definition of a heat wave is three days of temperatures of 90 or more.

Forecasters also warned of the possibility of heavy downpours, which could affect driving conditions and create brief flooding conditions in urban areas.

Things should start cooling slightly on Wednesday, as temperatures drop to the mid-80s. Scattered precipitation is possible throughout the day, Foley said.

Temperatures will return to normal by Thursday and Friday, as highs return to the upper 70s. There’s a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms on both days, Foley said.