Tornado Touches Down On Cape Cod, Ripping Off Hotel Roof

A tornado struck Yarmouth just after noon Tuesday. (Courtesy of the town of Yarmouth)
A tornado struck Yarmouth just after noon Tuesday. (Courtesy of the town of Yarmouth)

High winds and one radar-confirmed tornado ripped off a hotel roof, downed trees that blocked roads, and knocked out power to thousands on Cape Cod on Tuesday during the peak of tourist season.

A tornado struck Yarmouth just after noon, according to the National Weather Service, which along with the state Emergency Management Agency sent a survey team to the scene to assess the damage and the tornado's strength.

A wind gust of 90 mph was reported in Barnstable, according to the weather service.

There were no reports of injuries.

As of 4 p.m., utility Eversource reported 54,000 power outages around the state, most on Cape Cod, with Chatham, Dennis and Harwich the hardest hit. As of 4 p.m., more than 90% of customers in Harwich and Chatham were without power.

The Cape Sands Inn in Yarmouth was condemned by building inspectors after its roof was ripped off and deposited in the back of the building. Guests were being relocated to other hotels.

Jason Couse, on vacation with his family, said he first noticed the roof rising up and down.

He told NBC Boston that the family "quickly ran to the bathtub and covered up and next thing I know, it started pouring in the house, pouring in the hotel."

The manager came and brought them to the lobby.

Bruce and Diane Martin had checked into their room for a three-day getaway just minutes before the storm started, they told the Cape Cod Times.

Not five minutes after they had settled in, the inn's flagpole had bent sideways and they watched as the wind lifted and carried the roof "in slow motion" into the backyard.

Harwich declared a state of emergency and police urged people to stay off the roads during the cleanup.

"We have reports of damage throughout the community," Harwich Town Administrator Christopher Clark said.

With reporting by WBUR's Newsroom. You can listen to WBUR at 89.1-FM in Brewster and at 92.7-FM on Martha's Vineyard.

This article was originally published on July 23, 2019.



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