Concord tornado is 14th to strike Mass. since 2010

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BOSTON >> A tornado barreled through a half-mile stretch of Concord at about 3 a.m. Monday, toppling trees, damaging 39 homes, and knocking out power to more than a thousand residences.

An EF-01 tornado — the second lowest category of tornado — with wind speeds up to 100 mph carved a 400-yard wide path through parts of Concord near the Cambridge Turnpike, according to the National Weather Service. There were no reported injuries, NWS said.

Monday's tornado is the 14th confirmed twister to hit Massachusetts since 2010, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The state saw 10 tornadoes between 2000 and 2010, and 15 between 1990 and 2000, according to NOAA.

Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz planned a 3:15 p.m. visit Monday to Hawthorne Lane and Cambridge Turnpike to survey the damage and meet with local officials.

Local officials said that while winds reached 100 miles per hour, only one home sustained severe structural damage.

Categorized as a "moderate tornado" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an EF-01 tornado features wind speeds between 73 and 112 mph, and contains enough force to "peel surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads," according to NOAA.

Joe Dellicarpini, at the weather service, said there were a "considerable amount of downed trees."

"Most of the damage was concentrated near Alcott and Independence Roads where trees were uprooted or had the tops sheared off at the top. It was evident that trees were blown down in opposite directions," the NWS said in a statement. "Several houses sustained damage to roof shingles. Damage was more spotty in nature farther northeast where it is suspected the tornado lifted after only a few minutes."

Eric Fisher, chief meteorologist at WBZ-TV, said the Concord tornado was the first tornado to strike southern New England between midnight and 5 a.m. since the twister that struck Townsend on July 11, 1970, citing Dellicarpini as the source of the information.

Concord Municipal Light Plant, the town's utility company, said the tornado knocked out power to many in town. As of 1 p.m. Monday, power had been restored to 500 people, leaving about 500 more still without power, according to local officials. Crews from Middleton, Wakefield, Groton and Reading responded to assist in restoring power, CMLP said.

Gov. Baker, talking to reporters at the State House on Monday morning, said his administration has been in "constant contact" with MEMA and the agency's officials on the ground in Concord.

"We'll make the decision sometime later (Monday) about what additional resources we should be considering to send up there," Baker said, adding that he expected to learn more Monday afternoon.

The ongoing drought that has languished throughout this summer may have contributed to the damage, the NWS said.

"It is possible that many trees were uprooted due to the ongoing drought conditions, which resulted in weakened root systems," according to the NWS.

MEMA encouraged residents of Concord and nearby towns that sustained damage in Monday morning's storm to take photos of and document the damage, and contact their insurance company.


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