The 110 mile-per-hour straight-line winds that damaged portions of MCLA's on-campus townhouses are rare, according to Meteorologist Joe Villani of the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.

"But anytime you have any sort of front, that can contribute to the possibility of a thunderstorm and things of that nature," Villani said.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures Sunday indicated that a frontal boundary existed between Albany and the western part of Massachusetts. Although Albany was on the cool side of the boundary with temperatures in the low 60s, temperatures in North Adams were at least 10 degrees warmer.

Warm and humid conditions can contribute to the formation of thunderstorms, which can transport strong winds down to the surface levels of the atmosphere, he said.

Warmer temperatures many have contributed to straight-line winds, which led to microbursts Sunday. A microburst is a localized but intense gust of wind, not to be confused with a tornado. The bursts usually cover less than half a mile.