Like much of the greater Boston area, Needham witnessed some of Mother Nature's wildest weather on Wednesday, July 18, with strong winds and rain, thunder, lightning and hailstones.
It all began as a sultry 90 degree afternoon with dew points running in the 70s. This coupled with an impending cold front set the stage for some rather intense thunderstorms that formed five distinct cells, which were trained on Needham from 2 p.m. until just after 6 p.m.
The first two cells featured rain rates of more than 2 inches per hour, severe hail and vivid, constant lightning. (Hail over 3/4 an inch is considered by the National Weather Service to be severe.)
Officially, Needham saw hail 3/4 inch in size during storm cell number 1 around 3 p.m. and smaller, non-severe hail about 1/4 inch in size during cell number 2 at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Cells 3 through 5 featured heavy tropical rain and periods of intense lightning.
The storms finally wrapped up just after 6 p.m. with a heavy sun shower. The storms' rain totals were a staggering 3 inches in a very short amount of time.
The region was also put under a Tornado Warning at around 1:30 p.m. for a supercell that formed just to the north. This supercell had cloud tops in excess of 60,000 feet and hail cores topping 40,000 feet—unheard of for these parts. Most of this region's storms have tops around 35,000 to 40,000 feet.
Note: All images, Gr2Analyst 3D and Grlevel3 Scans in the gallery above were created by Greg Conlan.
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