The smoky haze you saw Tuesday from the western wildfires was an unhealthy air quality warning that should go away on Wednesday as severe weather threatens Massachusetts.
Meteorologists are monitoring the possibility of strong to severe thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening, with damaging wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.
There is even a possibility of isolated tornadoes on Wednesday.
“It’s something we’re looking for,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Rob Magnia, based at the Norton office in NWS Boston. “The current setup in the atmosphere suggests that it will not be impossible on Wednesday.”
Before the storm struck, much of southern New England was under air quality alert Tuesday as smoke from western wildfires swirled over the region.
Parts of Massachusetts had an air quality index between 100 and 150, meaning it was unhealthy air quality for vulnerable groups — including people with heart or lung disease such as asthma, older adults, children, teens, and people who are active outside. .
People in vulnerable groups were advised to limit their activity outside with the smoke rising.
“It’s pretty amazing how far the smoke can go,” Megania said. “If there is enough smoke in the atmosphere and it gets into the jet stream, it can go a long way.”
Thunderstorms and wind could help clear things up somewhat, which is expected on Wednesday when there will be another round of summer thunderstorms and showers.
The air quality index should improve to “moderate” for many parts of the Gulf state on Wednesday, followed by a “good” air quality index across the state on Thursday.
Thunderstorm risk on Wednesday is from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the greatest risk is south of Mass Pike.
Heavy rains can cause flooding of local roads.
Any tornado that formed on Wednesday should be more apparent on the radar than one that formed in Connecticut on Sunday, Megania said, calling that tornado a “real sneaky.”
That 80 mph tornado hit Somers for 7 minutes, uprooting trees and damaging homes.
“Things can come together very quickly,” Megania said. “But on Wednesday we’re hoping that if anything builds up, it will be more apparent and hopefully we can get warnings out before anything happens.”