Severe lightning storms early this morning dropped one-inch-in-diameter hail on Buxton and set fire to a garage in South Portland.

The storm passed through Maine from the west between 2:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., carrying occasionally intense rain and frequent lightning.

One of the strikes hit a garage on Lowell Street in South Portland at 5:15 a.m., setting the garage on fire, said South Portland Fire Chief Ken Guimond. The fire did about $15,000 in damage and destroyed a car inside the structure.

Five minutes later, firefighters were called to another lightning strike on a garage, this one at 15 Vivian St. The strike did not cause a fire but did blow a hole in the garage, Guimond said.

Intense weather is forecasted for parts of the northeast today, though the cool drizzly weather on the coast of Maine may keep away the worst of it.

Eastern New York and all of Vermont are under a tornado watch, Hawley said, and it may soon extend to New Hampshire. The threat of tornadoes is unlikely to reach into Maine because of the cool temperatures, he said.

The rains also are being blamed for a washout at the Exit 8 entrance ramp for the northbound lanes of Interstate 295. Infrastructure work alongside the entrance ramp leading from Washington Avenue to the interstate contributed to the washout.

The ramp has been temporarily blocked off. Motorists are advised to take Fox Street to Franklin Arterial to access the highway.