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Communities across New England picking up after a spate of tornadoes

Aug 19, 2023, 12:53 PM

Fallen trees block the road in a residential neighborhood, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Johnston, R.I....

Fallen trees block the road in a residential neighborhood, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Johnston, R.I., after severe weather swept through the area. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Communities across New England were picking up Saturday a day after a spate of tornadoes swept through the region.

Four tornadoes were confirmed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the National Weather Service was investigating a possible fifth in eastern Connecticut.

Friday’s strong winds knocked down trees, damaged homes, flooded roadways and in one case, lifted a car off a highway in Rhode Island.

There were no injuries reported.

In Rhode Island, a tornado caused damage in Johnston, Scituate, and North Providence. The most severe damage happened in Scituate where hundreds of large trees were uprooted or snapped at their bases. In Johnston, the storms took down about 100 trees at Highland Park Memorial Cemetery.

The tornado was the strongest to strike Rhode Island since an F-2 tornado touched down in Cranston and Providence on August 7, 1986, according to the weather service.

A tornado briefly touched down in Stoughton, Massachusetts, toppling trees, one of which fell onto a shed.

Another tornado uprooted trees and tore shingles off the roof of a house in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The weather service said a witness taking shelter in a basement spotted swirling debris out a window.

A fourth tornado was confirmed in North Attleborough and Mansfield, Massachusetts area.

Rhode Island residents in the path of the tornado were continuing to clean-up debris Saturday, including clearing fallen trees away from roads, Armand Randolph of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency said.

“It’s about just moving the trees and pushing them to the side,” he said.

In Massachusetts, emergency officials have yet to get calls for help from communities in the path of the tornados according to Christian Cunnie of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

“We haven’t received any requests for assistance from the towns,” he said.

New England usually gets only a few tornadoes a year. Most — but not all — are relatively weak.

In 2011, a powerful tornado killed three people and caused severe damage in western Massachusetts. And in 1953, a powerful tornado killed 94 people and injured nearly 1,300 in central Massachusetts, including the city of Worcester. It lasted nearly 1 1/2 hours and damaged or destroyed 4,000 buildings.

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Communities across New England picking up after a spate of tornadoes