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Updated – Rare Tornado Touches Down in Springfield, Massachusetts

Early Reports Claim High Damage and Many People Trapped

Updates continually.  Scroll down.
Videos added.
Police dispatch live link added.
Tornado outburst in Worcester, 50 miles west of Boston

5:30 pm Eastern:  A TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS, Wednesday afternoon at 4:45 pm.  The twister first touched down in West Springfield and moved into Springfield destroying houses and tossing some cars over.  There have been many reports of people trapped in the cars and damaged homes, but it is too early to get confirmed information on the extent of damage.

Springfield Republican

The public safety command post has been set up at 50 Maple Street.  Firegeezer will be updating as fresh information comes in.

5:45 pm
Two funnel clouds have been sighted, one in Wesfield and the other in Springfield.  As of 5:30 the Springfield funnel was still on the ground.  It traveled through the downtown area and unconfirmed reports say that heavy damage was sustained.

Citizen photo of funnel over West Springfield

From WPRI-TV Ch. 12:

 

Tornado hits Mass.; RI under warning: wpri.com

From WCVB-TV Ch. 5

 

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Police dispatch live link:  CLICK HERE then click on the "Springfield Police" line.

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WTNH-TV Ch. 8 – shows some downtown damage:

 

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Update 7:40 pm
Reports are still coming in on additional funnel clouds being sighted in Worcester, 50 miles west of Boston.  Harrington Hospital in Worcester Southbridge is moving their patients into the hallways.  375 hospital staff being recalled, gearing up for more emergency patients.

Report of more than 30 cars overturned on Route 84.  One hotel reported collapsed.  Ambulances blocked by trees over roadways.

USAR teams and mutual aid task forces being mobilized.  Town of Palmer reportedly needing USAR help.

Worcester Fire & Rescue live radio feed….CLICK HERE.  Fire units reporting twister touchdowns in their proximity.

District Chief to engine… tornado reported on ground.
Engine to chief, roger that, it is right in front of us.
Ok, be careful.

(Thanks to Mark Donovan for assistance)

Worcester Telegram & Gazette is reporting online:

State police scanner reports indicated significant damage to the center of Monson, Brimfield, Sturbridge and Charlton.

At 5:23 p.m., trained weather spotters reported a funnel cloud northwest of Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, according to the weather service. At 5:41 p.m., the weather service's Doppler radar was tracking a tornado near Millbury, moving east at 35 mph.

 

Another tornado was being tracked in Brimfield at 6:55 p.m., moving east at 35 mph, and a tornado warning remains in effect until 8 p.m. for southern Worcester County. The National Weather Service described the situation as extremely dangerous and life-threatening and urged people to take cover immediately.

Sturbridge scene  (T&G)

WWLP-TV Ch.  22 Springfield reports:

Thomas Walsh, aide to Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News that the City of Springfield has requested that the National Guard come to the city, where there has been damage from a tornado. Walsh said that the National Guard is on its way.

The State Police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) has been called in to help search damaged buildings for the possibility that anyone is trapped. Traffic into the city is being limited, as highway ramps leading to the city have been closed by State Police.

Update, 10 pm:
Governor Patrick has called up 1,000 National Guard troops and has declared a state of emergency.  It was also announced that there are four known deaths from the storms, one in West Springfield, one in Brimfield, and two in Westfield.

The violent storm system has left the state, no immediate danger exists other than possibility of building collapses.

West Springfield damage.  (WWLP-TV)

Adams Grocery Store – Monson.  (WWLP-TV)

This post has now been closed.  Any further updates will be later in new postings.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Mike

    Psst……Harrington Hospital is in Southbridge.

    From the scanner feeds I’m monitoring, Southbridge’s been hit pretty hard. Lots of overturned cars, wires down, other related calls of the like.

    There are Mass state task forces in or responding to the areas of Brimfield, Palmer, & West Springfield, as well as CT task forces as well.

    Springfield Fire & Police recalling all off-duty personnel.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Mike.   I made the correction.
      FG

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  • Mike

    In addition, for those who wish to listen, here’s the scanner feeds for Hampden County & Southern Worcester County:

    Hampden County, a Radio Reference feed: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?action=wp&feedId=7543

    Southern Worcester County, hosted by Webster Rescue (MA) : http://www.websterrescue.com/live.shtml