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Storms Aim For Northwest, New England

UPDATED 9:30 PM EDT, July 17, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal

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Severe thunderstorms continue to crackle across the Northern Tier today as a series of disturbances slide southward through the Intermountain West, Upper Midwest, and interior Northeast today. At the same time, thunderstorms remain across the western Carolinas. A few tornadoes, gusty winds, and large hail will be the biggest storm dangers.

Due to the threat from some of these storms, Severe Thunderstorm Watches have been issued across New Hampshire and northern Maine, including Concord, N.H., and Bangor and Caribou, Maine. Another Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for central Montana.

The northern tier severe thunderstorm risk is due to a long and winding cold front draped across southern Canada. A series of disturbances are pushing along the front, interacting with the hot air in place across the U.S.

The first area of concern is from northeastern Washington to the spine of the Montana Rockies. Afternoon and evening storms, stirred up by a clash between hot and moderately humid air ahead of an upper level low across the Northwest and an influx of cooler, drier Pacific air in its wake, will contain hailstones up to the size of golf balls. Even a few of the more organized thunderstorms could pack locally gusty winds up to 50 or 60 mph.

Triggering the thunderstorms in the Northeast and New England will be the approach of the same sharp cold front moving across the Upper Midwest and swiftly southward out of Canada. Feeding off temperatures warming well into the 80s and low 90s, with cooler, drier 70s in the fronts wake, the thunderstorms will dart across northern New York and northern Vermont and New Hampshire this afternoon into western and central Maine this evening. Before the thunderstorms fade while encountering stabilizing Atlantic air in Downeast Maine tonight, they will be capable of producing destructive winds up to 60 mph and a few brief tornado spin-ups.

As if that weren`t enough, a disturbance had built along the southern edge of the heat bubble in the East. Although slowly weakening, a few severe thunderstorms are being produced across the western Carolinas, northern Georgia and surrounding Appalachian highlands.

Egg sized hail was reported near Taylors, S.C., this evening, while golf ball sized hail broke porch windows in Avon, Mont. Widespread tree and power line damage was reported across the western Carolinas.

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