Tornado Watch Expires for NYC, Muggy Heat Lingers

A tornado watch for all of New York City, plus several surrounding counties, expired at  8 p.m. Wednesday, with rain and hail hitting some areas but no major storm damage reported.

Around 7 p.m., the National Service lifted a tornado watch it had issued for a large portion of New Jersey, including Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties.   In Connecticut, Fairfield and New Haven counties were also under a watch until 8 p.m.

Forecaster say tornadoes, wind gusts up to 70 mph, hail and lightning are possible through Wednesday night.

There were reports Wednesday afternoon of a tornado touching down in Springfield, Mass.

A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and multiple tornadoes in and close to the watch area. People in the affected areas are encouraged to be vigilant in preparation for severe weather.

The National Weather service urges area residents to be on alert in the event the tornado watch turns into a warning, which means a funnel cloud has been sighted or indicated on a radar. In that case, residents should seek cover immediately.

The safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement. The National Weather Service cautions residents to get under a bench or other piece of sturdy furniture in the event of a tornado. If no basement is available, seek shelter on the lowest floor of the building in an interior hallway or closet-like room. Use blankets or pillows to cover your body and stay away from windows.

Showers and thunderstorms are likely to pound the area this afternoon. Some storms may be severe with damaging winds and gusts up to 25 mph. Skies will turn partly cloudy in the evening, then clear for a breezy, sunny Thursday with highs in the mid 70s.

Stay with NBC New York for the latest on the potential severe weather. Follow us @NBCNewYork and at Facebook/NBCNewYork

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