PORTLAND — A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for most of northern New England calling for possible heavy rains, thunderstorms, high winds and hail.

The National Weather Service says the watch is in effect until 8 p.m. for all of Vermont, all of New Hampshire and most of Maine.

Meteorologist John Jensenius says the storm will cross the region from west to east beginning in the afternoon before ending Sunday night.

He says the forecast is calling for potential winds of 58 mph or stronger, some localized downpours of 1 to 2 inches of rain, and hail of up to 1 inch.

He says the worst of the storm is expected to be over Sunday night, but that rain will continue into Monday in much of the region.