My, were we surprised by the tornadoes--very strange--we do not get many here, and although apparently we do get two or three a year, they are very weak.
These were very strong—EF 3-- and tore up houses, etc, just like you see in the middle of the country. You could hear it in the voices of our television reporters covering it--they are not used to seeing this destruction here in our state. One reporter was already out in western Ma reporting on the first batch of tornadoes live on television. A trooper called to her to look over her shoulder and suddenly, another tornado was on its way. She told us later--'I kept filming, but I thought to myself, at what point do I stop and run?' She stopped and ran. Amazingly, a third round of tornadoes hit again later--by this point, she was sheltered in a nearby basement.
Parts of Western MA look like Joplin, MO did--entire buildings gone, bulldozers and buses picked up. One terrific video shows the tornado twirling right along the Connecticut River and dropping all sorts of debris onto cars on the bridge.
We did have warnings, but I am not sure how many people paid attention--we do get them from time to time, but they are always weak and nothing comes of them.
The tornadoes kept hitting the same stretch--three batches--touching down in the same group of towns, each leaving certain towns in between untouched!
We here in Acton on the morning the tornadoes hit got hail the size of pennies. My two cats went wild--did not like that at all. Then, in late afternoon, we did not get tornadoes but the winds and thunder and lightning was amazing--I was convinced trees would fall, but none close to us.
Plenty of people without power in western MA, and lots of cleaning up to do, but so far, only three people dead. People all over the state are finding bits of papers from the affected towns—books, bills, brochures—some have managed to travel eighty miles away!
And, Ted Lochner, almost in the tornado corridor, emailed me today:
“Everything is fine here. We are located in between the two tornado paths, one about twelve miles to the south and the other about 20 miles to the north!! The devastation in the towns of Sturbridge, Brimfield, Monson, Wilbraham, & West Springfield is unbelievable. I am trying to institute a plan to gather together a team of Home Depot employees to go down there to help those poor people that lost everything they owned. God bless their souls.”
So, that’s it from now sunny and calm Massachusetts.