Tornadoes may be rare in Massachusetts, but they do happen. In fact, when I was a kid growing up there, I remember one that hit the city of Worcester and another that touched down in Holyoke (when my family was vacationing there!).
HOW A TORNADO FORMS:
- Western Massachusetts seems to be more flat than the eastern part of the state, which gives the opportunity for downdrafts from thunderstorms to roll without obstructions (i.e. no buildings, hills, etc.) like a wave on the ocean's surface.
When one end of that roll lifts up into a cloud a tornado is born. I noticed that the Springfield tornado formed over the large river that runs through the town, so that created the flat surface needed to create the twister.
The damages on TV are frightening. - I saw one home that appeared to be turned upside down. Here's a video of the storm from Reuters and a Reuters story. -Rob
At least four dead in Massachusetts storms
REUTERS Newswire: At least four people were killed when tornadoes and severe storms tore through heavily populated western and central Massachusetts on Wednesday, causing widespread damage in 19 communities.
Tornadoes are rare but not unheard of in the northeastern United States. In Massachusetts, the first tornado touched down at about 4:30 p.m. local time in Springfield, the third largest city in the state, said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service. Heavy winds churned the Connecticut River and the area was pounded by hail and driving rain.
A second tornado hit Springfield, 90 miles west of Boston, at about 6:20 p.m., authorities said. State police said at least 33 people were injured in Springfield.
Damage included "trees and numerous power lines down, roofs ripped off of homes, things like cars and SUVs that have been toppled over," said Scott MacLeod, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.