A bolt of lightning strikes Old Orchard Beach in this view from the Camp Ellis jetty, Sunday, July 1, 2012, in Saco, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / BDN

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to move across Maine this afternoon and evening with the potential for damaging winds, downpours and hail, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service. 

Severe storms are expected throughout Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo and York counties and a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 8 p.m.

Hancock and Washington counties could see isolated, scattered thunderstorms on Thursday evening. 

Quarter-sized hail could hit parts of Aroostook, Piscataquis, Franklin and Oxford counties, according to forecasters with the NWS Caribou office. Scattered bursts of high wind could move through the state, with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour in some areas. 

A severe weather statement is in effect in northern Franklin and Oxford counties, where wind gusts could reach up to 60 mph accompanied by ping pong ball-sized hail as a storm moves from eastern New Hampshire into western Maine at around 40 mph, according to forecasters with the NWS Gray office. 

Lewiston, Auburn and Brunswick could see quarter-sized hail and wind gusts reaching up to 60 mph, as well as the greater Portland region.

Thunderstorms are expected to turn to partly cloudy skies overnight, with areas of patchy fog across the state on Friday morning.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.