General Talk

Weekend Coastal Storm Update

October 31st, 2014 at 8:33 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Here we go again… another potent coastal storm will be impacting southern New England this weekend…. in fact, our computer models this morning have shifted to a track CLOSER to the coast, which means more rainfall and strong winds for Saturday and Sunday.  Here’s the 06z GFS model showing heavy rain over southeastern New England Saturday afternoon and evening with part 1 of the coastal storm sitting east of Cape Cod.

temp 1

06z GFS Model Valid Saturday 8pm

Rain will be heaviest between noon Saturday and 12am Sunday, with as much as 1-2″ possible in Rhode Island and southeastern MA.  We’re still thinking that Cape Cod and Nantucket see the heaviest rain and highest winds from this evening.

Far eastern MA is also likely to see the strongest winds from this storm… 50mph+ for a few hours on the outer Cape and Nantucket…. further west into RI, wind gusts 35-50mph are possible.  That could lead to some wind damage–including downed limbs and branches and possibly some isolated power outages.  temp 1

temp 3

This is a potentially dangerous situation for mariners–along with 50kt+ wind gusts in the open waters east of MA, seas of 15-20ft are possible.  In Narragansett Bay, a Gale Watch has been issued for Saturday morning through late Sunday night, with waves building to 2-3ft and gusts up to 35kt.

There’s been a lot of buzz about the first snowflakes of the season.  While a few wet flakes are possible by late Saturday Night or early Sunday morning,  it looks like the best shot at snow will be in Maine, where several inches are possible.  Around here, the ground will stay bare.


Sandy: 2 Years Later

October 29th, 2014 at 1:08 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We didn’t take a direct hit from Sandy, but it was reminder (as was Irene the year before) of what hurricanes and tropical storms can do.  Sandy side-swiped Rhode Island, after it came up the East Coast and made an unusual left turn into New Jersey.  We were spared the worst, New Jersey and New York were not.

Parts of Rhode Island were still devastated.  Hurricane-force wind gusts battered the south coast.  A 3-5 foot storm surge inundated coastal communities and large waves eroded our fragile shoreline.

Hurricane Sandy off the East Coast
Hurricane Sandy off the East Coast

Here’s Sandy by the numbers:


Double Show in Our Skies Monday Evening

October 27th, 2014 at 11:50 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:  The launch of the Antares rocket was scrubbed Monday evening due to a vessel within the launch zone.  The new launch time is set for 6:22pm Tuesday evening.  It will be visible in Rhode Island skies at 6:25pm, low in the southern sky (about 5° above the horizon).  The weather in Rhode Island won’t be as pristine as Monday evening’s weather.  There are lots of clouds out there, but if you have a good view of the southern sky, it’s worth a look.  Unfortunately, the International Space Station will not be visible in our skies this evening.


For once, the weather should cooperate with something cool in the sky Monday evening — actually two things within minutes of each other.  We’ll have the opportunity to see a rocket launch and the International Space Station.

Courtesy:  NASA/Patrick Black.  Antares rocket on the launch pad.

Courtesy: NASA/Patrick Black. Antares rocket on the launch pad.

At 6:45pm, an Antares rocket is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Wallop Flight Facility in Virginia.  Approximately 3 1/2 minutes after launch, the launch will be visible in our skies.   It will be low in our sky, so you will need to go to a place with a clear view of the southern horizon.  The rocket will be visible only about 5° above the horizon.   Places where there will be a good view include

  • Misquamicut Beach in Westerly
  • Matunuck Beach in South Kingstown
  • Point Judith in Narragansett
  • Beavertail State Park in Jamestown
  • Brenton Point State Park in Newport


Temperature Roller Coaster Ride This Week

October 26th, 2014 at 11:03 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

The week ahead will feature significant ups and even more significant downs.  We are going on a temperature roller coaster ride during the next 7days.  And if you don’t get dizzy from that, the remnants of a tropical system, which was near Hawaii last week, could affect our weather this week!


The first half of the week will feature a nice warm up.   The average high temperature for this time of year is 60°F and that’s where the work week will start.  A warm front will be approaching on Tuesday.  As the warm air edges closer, we’ll see some extra clouds, and temperatures will begin to rise.  After the warm front passes, Wednesday will be a little milder and a tad more humid, too.


Also on Wednesday, a cold front will approach the area, and with it we’ll get some showers.   Behind the front, temperatures will fall below normal for Thursday…into the 50s.


Rain Check!

October 24th, 2014 at 10:03 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

The Nor’easter which has been plaguing us with rain, wind, clouds and chilly temperatures is slowly pulling away from New England this morning.


The low will be up in Nova Scotia, Canada this afternoon.  In its wake, drier air will return to Southern New England.  Today (Friday) will be a transition day as we will still have lots of clouds in our skies this afternoon.  The skies will clear tonight, and we’ll get a beautiful weekend.


Stalled Storm to Bring Stretch of Unsettled Weather

October 20th, 2014 at 11:55 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

It was the coldest morning since last April for much of southern New England with overnight lows falling into the uppers 20s and 30s.  Here’s a look at the low temperatures:

temp 1

The cold dry air that’s in place now, will give way to increasing clouds and moisture as an area of low pressure over the Great Lakes redevelops into an ocean storm that will hug the New England coast as it stalls just off-shore for the next three to four days.  Periods of rain will combine with some gusty winds to make for a gray, damp and dreary stretch of weather.  Based on the latest information, rainfall totals could reach 1-2″ in Rhode Island by the time the storm pulls away on Friday.  temp 1At this point, the storm does not look too severe for our area…. with the heaviest rain, strongest winds and potential coastal flooding hitting further north, but we’ll have to carefully watch as the storm takes shape these next few days.  A shift in the position of the storm could mean more rain and wind here.

The first rain showers are slated to move in late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

temp 1

And the steadiest of the rain could be late Wednesday into Thursday.  Some slow improvements are possible on Friday as the storm drifts further away.

Freeze Watch Sunday Night – Monday Morning

October 18th, 2014 at 11:01 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

What will likely be the coldest air of the season, so far, will move into Southern New England Sunday into Monday.

Strong northwest winds will usher in this cold beginning Sunday morning.  Temperatures on Sunday will be 15-20° colder than on Saturday when highs were around 71.  We’ll probably see more in the way of sunshine Sunday afternoon, but it will be ineffective sun as temperatures won’t budge much.


Northwest winds will be gusting as high as 30mph in the afternoon, and wind chills will be dipping into the 40s.  Those winds are expected to quiet down on Sunday night, and the temperatures will be begin to nose dive into the low to mid 30s by dawn on Monday….even in Providence!



Rainy Day Underway

October 16th, 2014 at 9:10 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A slow moving cold front is combining with unusually muggy air to create some downpours and isolated thunderstorms for today.  Rain has be filling in this morning and additional periods of rain will be likely into the evening.  Our computer models continue to hint at 1″ of rain or more for most of our area, with amounts to 2″ possible for some, especially in any thunderstorms.  temp 2

While severe weather is not expected, isolated wind gusts over 30mph could bring down a few tree limbs or branches. It looks like the main issue, will be trying to drive through the downpours as localized street and poor drainage flooding is possible. It will be a “warm” rain for October standards with temperatures 68-73 through the day.

Rain continues through at least early evening, so if you are headed to the Patriots game at Gillette tonight, plan on wet conditions for tailgating with temperatures in the 60s.  There may still be some leftover showers at the start of the game, but latest data now shows the bulk of the rain falling BEFORE 8pm.  temp 3


Storms End this Morning

October 8th, 2014 at 7:29 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

It’s been a busy morning tracking some scattered strong storms over southern New England this morning.  They’ve had a history of heavy rain and frequent lightning along with gusty winds.  In our area, the most intense storm moved across New Bedford and Plymouth around 6:30am this morning, and even had some weak rotation noted on radar.

Radar from 6:25am Wed, 10/8

Radar from 6:25am Wed, 10/8

There was a line of severe thunderstorms that moved through parts of western MA and northern CT causing numerous reports of wind damage, including downed trees and power outages.  Winds greater than 50mph reported.  temp 3

Luckily though, there were no “severe” storms in our area.  And the threat of additional severe storms is quickly winding down.  Additional scattered showers, isolated thunder is possible through 9am before skies becoming sunny and dry across the area.  Plan on a warm afternoon with temperatures in the low and mid 70s.  temp 2


Potentially Strong Storms on Wednesday Morning

October 7th, 2014 at 9:14 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Heads up for early Wednesday: There’s the potential for some strong to severe storms during the morning commute in southern New England.

A strong cold front will approach southern New England with a line of thunderstorms expected to form along the front…. first affecting places like NYC and then heading east.

Simiulated Radar for Wed.

Simulated Radar for 5am Wed. 10/8

Simulated Radar for 9am Wed. 10/8

Simulated Radar for 9am Wed. 10/8

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted Long Island and parts of CT and RI as having a “slight risk” for severe storms, including a small chance (2%) of a weak tornado.  However, it’s more likely that our area could see some damaging straight line wind gusts, torrential downpours and frequent lightning.  temp 1

Probability of a Weak Tornado

Probability of a Weak Tornado

In addition, there could be some minor coastal flooding around the morning high tide, between 8-9am.   A persistent southerly wind will combine with an astronomical high tide, leading to some minor splash-over in the morning along Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay as well as the south coast.

Frost Advisory for Parts of S’rn New England

October 5th, 2014 at 11:45 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Clear skies, dry air and light winds are allowing temperatures temperatures to fall quickly.  Areas away from the coastline could see a frost Monday morning.  Communities in the advisory include Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Burrillville, Foster, Glocester and Scituate in Rhode Island; Blackstone, Uxbridge and Douglas in Massachusetts; and Sterling, Killingly, Putnam and Thompson in Connecticut.

Light southerly winds will likely keep the temperatures above freezing near the coast and in the big cities.   However, it would not surprise me if north and central Bristol County, MA and Kent County, RI get frosts.



Wet Start to October

October 4th, 2014 at 10:42 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

As of Saturday evening, Southern New England was still in a moderate drought.  Recent rains may slowly bring us out of  ‘drought’ status, however.  We could be labelled as “abnormally dry” when the next drought analysis is released from the United States Drought Monitor.  If not this week, we will could be out of a drought by the end of this week.  That analysis from the U.S. Drought Monitor will likely come Monday or Tuesday.

There has been measurable rain each of the first 4 days of October.

  • October 1:  0.30″
  • October 2:  0.31:
  • October 3:  0.01″
  • October 4:  0.28″

That brings the monthly total (through Saturday evening) up to 0.90″.

Compare that number to all the rain that fell in September…


September was the second driest on record, and we’ve been keeping track of Septembers since 1905.


September Was 2nd Driest on Record in RI

October 1st, 2014 at 8:30 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We’re beginning October with rain…. something we saw very little of in September.  In fact, with just under 3/4″ of rain for the month at TF Green Airport, it became the 2nd driest September on record for RI.  The driest was 100 years ago– September 1914, when the area received 0.48″ of rain.  For September alone, that leaves us with a more than 3″ rainfall deficit.temp 3

The dry spell is taking its toll.  Last week, the US Drought Monitor upped the classification for most of southeastern New England from “abnormally dry” to “moderate drought”.

temp 2

US Drought Monitor valid September 23, 2014

No doubt, the ground is parched and our rivers and lakes are running very low.  Check out this view of Wordens Pond in Wakefield, RI from Eyewitness News viewer Gina Falcone.  The picture on the left is what the pond usually looks like, with the picture on the right from the past weekend.

Wordens Pond from Gina Falcone

Wordens Pond from Gina Falcone

We need some rainy days this month to help ease the drought conditions, and today will be one.  Periods of rain and drizzle are likely through tonight and early Thursday morning.  We’re hopeful that some areas will see more than 1/2″ of  rain.  A cold front on Saturday will give us another shot at some beneficial rain.  Even though the wet weather may impact your weekend plans, your lawns and gardens will be happy!

It’s a New Record!!

September 28th, 2014 at 4:54 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Most people who have lived in Southern New England their entire lives have never seen a September 28th as warm as this one.  A 71 year old temperature record has fallen at TF Green Airport, where the state’s climatological records are gathered.

For most of Sunday, the winds were very light out of the south and southwest, and temperatures stayed in the low 80s.  Late this afternoon, the winds turned westerly, and the temperature jumped a couple of degrees to smash the high temperature record for the date.


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High temperatures all over Southern New England were quite warm today, including 87° in Boston, 84° in Taunton and a toasty 80° in Newport.  Windsor Locks and Providence both set high temperature records for today.


Monday will be a little cooler, but highs should still be well above average.  Mid to late week, however, temperatures will  likely stay in the 60s.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

Near Record Warmth This Weekend

September 27th, 2014 at 11:55 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Saturday felt like summer outside.  From Newport to Providence to Taunton, temperatures soared into the 80s in the afternoon.

Here’s a look at the high temps from around the area on Saturday.


That 85° mark in Providence was reached at 2:40pm.   That was 1° shy of tying the record for the date which is 86°.




Most of Southeast New England in Drought

September 26th, 2014 at 12:13 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We got some rain Thursday into Friday, but for most of Southern New England, it didn’t do much to stop the dry spell.


During the month of September, T.F. Green Airport in Warwick got 0.64″ of rain which is 2.60″ below normal.  This was after a fairly dry August when 2.70″ of rain fell…close to an inch below normal.   Something to note about that August rain:  most of it fell on one day…August 13th when 2.26″ fell leading to flash flooding.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is now classifying Rhode Island and Bristol County, MA in a moderate drought (tan color below).


Daylight on the Decline

September 23rd, 2014 at 11:58 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Welcome to Autumn!  It’s a great season here in New England, with vibrant colors, sweater (and boots) weather and all things pumpkin.  What’s not to love?!  Well, for many, the shorter days that come with fall.  With the Autumnal Equinox, we mark the time where the sun’s direct rays cross the equator and head into the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s easy to notice with each passing day that the sunrises are getting later and the sunsets earlier.  In fact, we are losing about 3 minutes of daylight each day…. and those minutes quickly add up.

While equinox means “equal night”… that’s not exactly the case as we still have slightly more than 12 hours of daylight the first few days of Autumn.  Enjoy it, because by Saturday our nights will exceed our days for the first time since the start of spring.  And from there, we await the shortest day of the year…. December 21 when we only see the sun for a mere 9 hours and 13 minutes.  The sunset on  that day will be at 4:20pm.

temp 3

Along with the shorter days, inevitably comes the cooler temperatures due to the longer nights and weaker, indirect rays of the sun.  Our average high temperature drops from 72° today, to 58° on November 1 and 41° by December 21.


Autumn Officially Arrives Monday

September 21st, 2014 at 8:57 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

The leaves are beginning to change color and the temperatures are getting cooler….autumn is upon us.   Autumn will officially be here at 10:29pm Monday evening — the time of the Autumnal Equinox.


What is an equinox exactly? Equinox comes from a Latin word, aequus, which means equal — equal days and equal nights.   Astronomically, it’s the tilt of the Earth that causes the solstices and equinoxes.  The Earth is always tilted about its axis.  At a summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun.  In winter solstice, the Southern Hemisphere gets the sun’s more direct rays.  At the time of an equinox, however, the sun’s direct rays fall on the equator.  This year that exact time is 10:39pm.



Big Waves and Rip Currents Expected Monday

September 21st, 2014 at 8:03 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A fairly potent ocean storm passing to our south and east is creating some big waves.  These waves will have a big impact on our coastline on Monday.  This system is passing closer than Bertha, Cristobal and Edouard did this summer.  While the system is weaker, its proximity to Southern New England will create larger and more frequent waves.


This low is non-tropical, but it has a fairly deep central pressure of 997mb and winds of 25-30mph with higher gusts. These winds are creating the big waves which will impact Southern New England’s coastline on Monday.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory for Monday 8am-5pm.



CVS Downtown 5K and Patriots Futurecast: Showers

September 20th, 2014 at 11:57 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Moisture was working its way up the coastline Saturday evening and it’ll  be here in Southern New England on Sunday.  Expect some showers in the area, but we are not expecting a washout.  The bulk of the rain should remain offshore.  That moisture is associated with an area of low pressure that developed off the Carolina coast on Saturday.


We expect the showers to develop in Southern New England before dawn on Sunday.   These showers will be mostly around during the morning on Sunday and they should be fairly scattered in nature.



Watching a Low Center off the Carolina Coast

September 20th, 2014 at 10:50 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We are watching an area of low pressure off the Carolina coastline very closely.  This steadily developed and strengthened through the day on Saturday.


If this low were to sit off the coast another day or so, this system could become a tropical storm.  As of 10:15pm Saturday, the winds around the center were strengthening.  This is some weather information from a buoy just to the northeast of the center.

Courtesy: NOAA/National Data Buoy Center

Courtesy: NOAA/National Data Buoy Center


Cold Morning, Cold Tonight, Warmer Weekend

September 19th, 2014 at 11:24 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Brrrrr…..temperatures this morning were pretty cold (by September standards) throughout New England.  Here in Southern New England, temperatures were between 42 and 50 at sunrise…a little milder on the Cape and on the Islands.


In Northern New England and Upstate New York, temperatures were winter-like…and it’s not even officially Fall yet! The low was 21° in Saranac Lake, NY!!


Northern Lights Could Be Visible Friday Night

September 12th, 2014 at 11:44 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Some space weather forecasters are saying tonight could be the best opportunity for us to see the Northern Lights in over a year.   Forecasting this phenomenon is very difficult, but here’s how you may be able to see it tonight.

  • Wait until the sky gets dark
  • Get away from city lights
  • Look to the northern horizon
  • Be patient, check back through the night

The science behind the Aurora Borealis

Two powerful solar flares erupted from the sun on both Monday and Wednesday this week.  Material from these eruptions was thrown through space and toward Earth.  Material released from a solar flare is called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).   That material is a plasma consisting of electrons and protons and sometimes helium and oxygen.

Here’s a movie of the X-Class solar flare on Wednesday from NASA:


The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the large amounts of radiation from the sun; however there are times that power grids see fluctuations or damage.  Communication satellites could see disruptions and GPS units could briefly become unusable tonight.

A nice side-effect of these particles hitting the Earth is the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis.  Space weather forecasters from NOAA said in their “Space Weather Watch” that auroras are potentially visible from Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.  We are at the same latitude as those states, so it is quite possible we could see the Northern Lights tonight.

The Northern Lights occur when the particles from the sun follow the Earth’s magnetic poles and interact with the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.  That interaction causes the gases to emit light.   The most common color is a pale green.  On some occasions, other colors are present.

From the first eruption from the sun on Monday, Northern Lights were reported from Northern Michigan to Alaska Thursday night.   So, the atmosphere is already energized, and the one-two punch on consecutive nights could create an Aurora visible from Southern New England.   The strength of the Aurora can be measured by a number called the Kp index.  To see the lights from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, we typically need a Kp index of 7 to 8.   What makes Friday night/Saturday morning special is that some space weather forecasters are saying we could get a Kp index of 9!




Birds Caught on Radar

September 12th, 2014 at 10:06 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

This morning around sunrise, Live Pinpoint Doppler 12 Radar detected a very large flock of birds over Connecticut.



Tropical Storm Edouard Latest

September 12th, 2014 at 9:32 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Tropical Storm Edouard continues his trek across the Deep Tropics.  As of 8am, Edouard was approximately 1130 miles to the west of the Cape Verde Islands.  It was moving pretty quickly, too, at about 15mph, heading westward.

Currently, the tropical storm is battling some upper-level winds and dry air, but a slow strengthening is expected during the next several days…possibly intensifying into a hurricane over the weekend.


Minor Earthquake in RI Monday Evening

September 9th, 2014 at 3:30 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

At 9:58pm Monday evening, there was a minor earthquake just off the west coast of Portsmouth…between Portsmouth and Prudence Island.  The epicenter was right near Portsmouth Abbey.


It was a magnitude 1.5 earthquake.  Typically, humans don’t feel earthquakes below magnitude 2.0, but a minor earthquake near New Bedford earlier this year was felt by many people.  That one was very shallow.  The earthquake Monday evening was about 7miles deep, and it’s doubtful anyone felt this tremor.   There were no reports of damage.


Dry Skies for Primary Day Voters

September 8th, 2014 at 11:32 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Candidates will have Mother Nature in their corner this Primary Day, with pleasant weather conditions for getting voters to the polls.

Polling places will open at 7am under a mix of clouds and milky sun with temperatures climbing from the 50s into the 60s.  The day in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will remain mostly dry, with fairly low humidity and temperatures in the 70s in the afternoon.  It will be slightly cooler than normal for the 2nd week of September.

temp 2

High pressure will stay to our north as an area of low pressure moves from the North Carolina coast into the waters well south of New England…. while some of the clouds from this disturbance will make their way into southern New England, the wet weather will not.  Rain stays suppressed to the south, leading to a dry walk/drive to polling places.  The exception to that may be an isolated sprinkle/light shower that could fall on Cape Cod or the Islands

temp 1

Tuesday Morning Surface Map Valid at 8am


Tuesday Evening Surface Map Valid at 8pm

For more details on the Primary Elections check out our Campaign 2014 coverage here.

Cooler Temperatures Ahead

September 8th, 2014 at 12:19 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

After a very warm and humid couple of days here in Southern New England late last week, we are going into a relatively cool stretch of weather.  The average high temperature for the second week of September is between 74 and 76°F with average lows between 55 and 57°.   We’ll have a couple days when we could see temperatures get above normal, but in general, this will be a cooler than normal period.

The jet stream, a fast-moving river of air high above in the atmosphere will be dipping down across the United States this week.  The jet stream guides storm systems and batches of air around the world.



Cold Front Almost in RI, Still Showers Through Midnight

September 6th, 2014 at 8:37 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

As of 8:30pm, a strong cold front was almost into Rhode Island.  It’ll be passing through Southern New England by midnight.  With the front comes a continued chance of showers and thunderstorms.


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Some downpours and possibly some thunder have developed just north of Providence…from North Providence into Pawtucket and Central Falls out to Mansfield.  These storms were moving east-northeast.  While the storms are bringing heavy rain to the communities in their path, they only have a slight chance of becoming severe.


Once this front passes, there will still be the chance for additional showers, but they will likely not be severe.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

5pm Radar Update

September 6th, 2014 at 5:03 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

As of 5pm Live Pinpoint Doppler 12 Radar was detecting a couple of decent-sized thunderstorms moving through eastern Connecticut.  These storms have been producing frequent lightning and torrential rain.  As of 5pm, I have not seen or (believe to be) any wind damage from these two cells.