(National Weather Service)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Severe thunderstorms were increasingly possible across the state Tuesday afternoon and evening--with forecasters also warning of the potential for tornadoes in western and central Massachusetts.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island until 9 p.m.
In addition, a tornado watch has been issued until 8 p.m. for Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Worcester counties.
That watch turned to a warning in parts of southwest Berkshire County until 3:30 p.m.
Forecasters said scattered storms could bring damaging winds, hail, and lightning.
"Some of these storms could get pretty nasty," WBZ-TV's Danielle Niles said. "Some damaging wind gusts over 50 mph, torrential downpours, lightning and hail potential, especially outside of 495."
Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Newton MA, Waltham MA, Arlington MA until 5:30 PM EDT pic.twitter.com/BI601QM7Vo— NWS Severe Tstorm (@NWSSevereTstorm) May 15, 2018
[227pm] A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for eastern MA and Rhode Island.— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) May 15, 2018
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means BE PREPARED. Damaging wind and large hail are possible. pic.twitter.com/fECvje0Z0N
MEMA's Chris Besse told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker that wind gusts that could cause damage to trees, utility poles, and power lines were the biggest concern.
"Obviously if people are outside in those strong winds, there can be stuff flying around," he said. "So we want people, if they're in that area and a storm's coming, to get inside and take shelter and stay safe."
The risk for damaging storms in western Mass ran from about noon to seven, and the risk in central Mass ran from about 2 to 9 p.m.
[225pm] A Tornado Watch has been issued for Worcester, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden counties in MA, as well as Hartford, Windham, and Tolland counties in CT.— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) May 15, 2018
A Tornado Watch means BE PREPARED. A tornado is possible. pic.twitter.com/qzDU7iKtjl
"At the moment, the stronger storms and the chance of stronger storms are expected to be further west in Massachusetts, so, Berkshire County, even into Central Massachusetts and Worcester County as well," Besse said.
"Not everyone's going to see a thunderstorm, and not every storm is going to become severe," Niles said. "But there is the timeframe, 2-9 p.m., that we're going to be watching closely here."
Besse said there was a chance of power outages, but that it was lower because this was expected to be a short-duration storm.
Listen to MEMA's Chris Besse talk about the storm here: