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It's tornado season. These are the 3 biggest tornadoes to ever hit Massachusetts.
It's tornado season. These are the 3 biggest tornadoes to ever hit Massachusetts.
It's tornado season. These are the 3 biggest tornadoes to ever hit Massachusetts.

Published on: 07/10/2024

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Storm clouds in Littleton, MA: Henri moves through Massachusetts
This timelapse video by Peter Cote shows the movements of dark, stormy clouds in Littleton, on Aug. 23. Henri caused three tornados in Massachusetts

When you hear about bad tornadoes, do you think of Massachusetts?

If the answer is no, you should think again, because the Bay State has seen its share of twisters — bad ones, in fact.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 190 tornadoes have been recorded in Massachusetts since 1951. Tornado season in Massachusetts runs during the summer months, with many of the storms sparked by powerful thunderstorms.

In fact, one of the expensive tornadoes in American history struck Central Massachusetts, claiming many lives and destroying property.

Here are some details about the three most destructive tornadoes to ever touch down in the commonwealth.

They are measured through what's called the Fujita Scale. Through this, tornado severity is ranked from F1 to F5 (the "F" stands for Fujita), with F5 being the worst on the scale. An F5 is the most powerful level for a tornado.

The inventor of the Fujita Scale was Dr. Tetsuya Theodore Fujita.

The worst tornado on record in Massachusetts was June 9, 1953, when a tornado that was a mile wide ripped through Worcester and the surrounding area, lasting nearly 90 minutes. The path stretched from Petersham to Southborough, according to historical records.

The Fujita Scale wasn't in use yet, but meteorologists believe it was an F4 and likely reached F5 intensity in some locations. The tornado brought hailstones the size of baseballs and winds exceeding 300 mph. Debris was thrown as far as Cape Cod.

According to the Massachusetts Historical Society, the tornado killed 94 people and injured 1,288 others. About 4,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed with the damage valued at nearly $600 million in today's dollars.

"When it hit the county seat of Worcester — the second most populated city in Massachusetts and home to over 200,000 people at the time — the storm was a mile wide," the Massachusetts Historical Society wrote. "Ten thousand residents, or 5% of the population, lost their homes that day."

The second worst tornado in Massachusetts was the Springfield tornado that hit June 1, 2011, spawned out of a supercell thunderstorm.

The F3 tornado traveled 39 miles through Hampden and Worcester counties, ripping through West Springfield, Westfield, Springfield, Monson, Hampden, Wilbraham, Brimfield, Sturbridge, Southbridge and Charlton. It spent a total of one hour and 10 minutes on the ground.

In the end, the tornado killed three people, injured about 200 others and left hundreds homeless. It is considered one of the deadliest, costliest tornadoes in Massachusetts history.

This tornado started in New York before crossing the border into West Stockbridge Aug. 28, 1973.

"The carnage, the destruction, was hard to imagine unless you saw it," Lawrence Tonini, the town's assistant fire chief at the time, told the Berkshire Eagle.

The tornado traveled on the ground for six miles in the town. The Tornado Project reported that four people were killed and 31 people were injured as a result of the twister.

Massachusetts had the distinction of being home to the first tornado ever recorded in America. On July 8, 1680, a tornado hit Cambridge, killing one person.

According to The Tornado Project 14 other deadly tornadoes have hit the state, for a total of 16 deadly tornadoes.

News Source : https://www.telegram.com/story/news/regional/2024/07/10/masschusetts-tornadoes-history-worcester-1953-springfield-2011-west-stockbridge-1973/74324369007/

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