The Washington Post

Tornadoes in central and western Mass. kill at least 4 (Photos and video)

Bricks and debris that fell from a building lie on top of cars after a tornado struck Springfield, Mass., on Wednesday. (Jessica Hill/AP)

The storms that struck 19 Massachusetts communities, including Springfield and Monson, were not as large as the one tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., in May, but the state is not accustomed to seeing this type of severe weather in highly populated areas.

“It was obviously an incredible surprise. ... We’d been monitoring the weather all day, and by early afternoon nobody was overly concerned. ... But by late afternoon some storm clouds started to appear,” Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said. “Getting severe thunderstorms is not very unusual for a late afternoon at this time of the year, but damaging tornadoes in heavily populated areas are rare.”

Massachusetts averages two to three tornadoes per year, according to the Post’s Capital Weather Gang. The last deadly tornado was in 1995.

Video from YouTube users skylerjustive, who gives credit to Brandon Stewart, and ravedave413 shows the tornado in Springfield from a particularly vulnerable location — the open road. User Joseffemoreira did the same, as he and his passengers watched the storm approach. Watch the video, which contains NSFW language, here.

A child runs for cover as bad weather moved back into the area following a tornado touchdown in the South End of Springfield, Mass. (Don Treeger/AP)

Storm damage is seen in downtown Springfield, Mass. (Jessica Hill/AP)

A smashed car sits next to the South End Community Center, which lost most of its roof in a tornado that touched down in Springfield. (Michael S. Gordon/AP)

Springfield police officers call into buildings to see whether people need help following a tornado touchdown in the south end of Springfield. (Don Treeger/AP)

A police officer checks on people in a house after a reported tornado struck Springfield. (Jessica Hill/AP)

The steeple of the First Church of Monson lays in rubble on the ground after a tornado swept through the downtown area of Monson, Mass. (Tom Rettig/AP)

Residents gather in front of a house where a car lies smashed against a tree after a tornado swept through Monson, Mass. (Elise Amendola/AP)

(Source: Associated Press)


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