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Fox News Weather Center

Violent Thunderstorms to End May in Mid-Atlantic

Violent thunderstorms will erupt across parts of the mid-Atlantic as this unusually warm and dry May comes to a close.

The greatest threat for the strong thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon lies from Connecticut and Pennsylvania to eastern West Virginia and the I-81 corridor of Virginia. The threat zone also trails southward to the North Carolina mountains.

Hartford, Connecticut; Poughkeepsie, New York; Allentown, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Bluefield, West Virginia; Hagerstown, Maryland; Roanoke and Winchester, Virginia; and Asheville, North Carolina, are among the communities at risk.

Anyone with outdoor plans is urged to keep an eye to the sky and AccuWeather MinuteCast® to know when to seek shelter ahead of the violent thunderstorms.

"The stronger storms that develop on Sunday will have the potential to produce damaging winds, hail and blinding downpours," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson.

An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

While the majority of the strongest thunderstorms will remain to the north and west, thunderstorms interrupting outdoor activities and forcing people indoors will still rumble along the I-95 corridor from New York City to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., to Richmond, Virginia.

Regardless of the severity of the thunderstorms, the threat of being struck by lightning is present as soon as thunder is heard.

"These storms will fire along a stalled front sitting over the mid-Atlantic, which is dividing two very different air masses," Thompson continued.

"While afternoon temperatures will only be in the 50s from upstate New York through much of New England, it will feel like the middle of summer in Washington, D.C. where temperatures top out near 90 F," added Thompson.

Despite the potential for damage and the disruptions to outdoor plans, the rainfall to end May will be welcome with many communities in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast experiencing a rainfall shortage.

Roanoke, Virginia, has only received 28 percent of its normal rainfall for May as of Saturday. That percentage is down to nine in Boston, proving that the city will benefit from the rainy start to June that is shaping up.

While rain was infrequent in May, warmth dominated. Most locations in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic will finish May with temperatures averaging 4 to 7 degrees above normal.

Warmth will take a break this week, but that will not be the theme for the overall summer.