Weather service confirms fifth tornado among a spate of twisters to hit New England last week

A crew works to clear downed trees, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Scituate, R.I., after severe weather swept through the area. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
A crew works to clear downed trees, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Scituate, R.I., after severe weather swept through the area. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that a tornado touched down in Connecticut on Friday, joining a spate of four other twisters detected in New England, including three in Massachusetts and another in Rhode Island, that same day.

The Connecticut tornado touched down just before 8 a.m. in the town of Scotland, about 37 miles east of Hartford, with a peak wind of 100 mph and followed a path of just under three miles.

“While there wasn't much in the way of structural damage observed, other than gutter damage to two homes, there was significant tree damage. It was estimated that well over one hundred trees were either downed or sheared off at their tops,” the weather service said in an update posted on its website.

In Rhode Island, a single tornado cut a nine-mile discontinuous path through three communities — Scituate, Johnston, and North Providence, about four miles north of Providence — beginning around 8:40 a.m. with an estimated peak wind of 115 mph.

The tornado caused significant damage, uprooting or snapping hundreds of large trees and lifting a car off a highway before dropping it back, leaving the driver with minor injuries.

It is the strongest tornado to strike Rhode Island since the F-2 tornado in Cranston and Providence on Aug. 7, 1986, according to the weather service.

Three tornadoes struck Massachusetts.

The first touched down just after 9 a.m. and traveled a discontinuous path of about 7 1/2 miles from North Attleborough to Mansfield, about 40 miles south of Boston. Trees were snapped or uprooted, and an eyewitness saw swirling debris before taking shelter in her home.

Another tornado with peak winds of 80 mph briefly touched down in Stoughton, at 9:37 a.m. about 20 miles south of Boston.

A third Massachusetts tornado touched down in Weymouth, 16 miles south of Boston, just after 9:50 a.m. and traveled about a third of a mile with peak winds of 110 mph. An eyewitness who received an emergency alert could see swirling debris out a window as she took shelter in her cellar.

There were no fatalities and only a single minor injury from the five tornadoes, according to the weather service.

Residents spent the weekend cleaning up debris, including fallen trees.

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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