Thursday storms may bring high winds, hail

Hail fell in the South End during last summer’s hail storm.
Hail fell in the South End during last summer’s hail storm. –Hayley Kaufman / The Boston Globe

Thursday’s St. Patrick’s Day weather may prove unlucky for those planning outdoor activities.

The National Weather Service released a special weather statement Thursday morning warning that “scattered showers and thunderstorms may result in hail and locally strong wind gusts this afternoon and early evening.’’

The storms will affect much of New England, except for the Cape and Islands, said Glenn Field, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton. The weather pattern is expected to hit New England between 2 and 8 p.m.

Wind gusts could reach 40 to 60 miles per hour. There could be lightning as well.

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“Be ready to shelter indoors if necessary,’’ it says in the statement.

Though temperatures are between 60 to 65 degrees on the ground, the air 18,000 feet up is colder than 30 below zero, said Field. That’s a good recipe for hail, he said.

Thursday’s hail could be dime-to-nickel sized, which is considered small, said Field.

Last August, large pieces of hail fell in Boston . A severe thunderstorm brings hail that is 1-inch in diameter, the size of a quarter, he said.

“We’re not expecting large hail today,’’ said Field.

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