June 23, 2013

Portland area and four Maine counties brace for thunderstorms

A thunderstorm watch will remain in effect until 11 p.m. Sunday night, but a more serious thunderstorm warning is issued for Portland.

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – The National Weather Service in Gray has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for southern Cumberland County, an area that includes Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Westbrook, Falmouth, Cumberland and Windham.

The Weather Service said the storms could produce quarter size hail and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. The storm was reported to be moving toward the North Windham area.

Meanwhile, the Portland area, a large coastal area stretching from Cape Elizabeth to the New Hampshire border, and four counties will remain under a severe thunderstorm watch for the remainder of Sunday evening.

Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said the storms that could potentially affect Cumberland, York, Oxford and Androscoggin counties could be severe, raining down quarter-sized chunks of hail while producing damaging winds and heavy rains.

Curtis said the storms are moving toward Portland from New Hampshire and western regions.

“The hot, sticky air mass that we’ve experienced today has produced a lot of moisture in the atmosphere,” Curtis said.

The severe thunderstorm watch, which Curtis described as more of a "heads-up" to residents than a sure thing, will remain in effect until 11 p.m.

Curtis said thunderstorms tore through the Fryeburg area around 5 p.m. Sunday. Residents reported seeing penny-sized hail and large trees swaying in the wind.


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