A rare overnight tornado swept through Middlesex County, MA early Monday morning, damaging 39 homes and scaring residents. The National Weather Service in Taunton, MA conducted a survey in the town of Concord to determine the nature of the damage. A powerful line of storms moved through overnight Sunday into Monday, prompting straight-line wind damage reports from Marlborough, Sudbury and Woburn. In Concord, however, trees were blown down in opposite directions, indicating rotation. Based on their observations, the tornado was given an EF-1 rating. Maximum winds are estimated at 100 mph. It took the tornado about ten minutes to travel one half mile.
The tornado touched down near the Cambridge Turnpike around 3:20 am EDT, before heading to the northeast. While there was some damage on the Cambridge Turnpike, most of the damage was concentrated from the intersection of Lexington Road and Alcott Road to the neighborhood of Alcott and Independence Roads. In all, approximately 39 houses were damaged to some degree. Only one house had significant structural damage.
Ongoing drought conditions added to the amount of damage. Weakened root systems in many of the local trees made them easier to uproot. Also of note, just to the east of the tornado path was an approximately a 200 yard wide path of straight line wind damage extending from Lexington Road west of Hawthorne to Edmonds Road.
On average, Massachusetts only sees three tornadoes every year. The last tornado in the state was an EF-0 in Westminster on June 23, 2015.
There have been 3 confirmed nocturnal tornadoes in Massachusetts since 1950. Last night's tornado in Concord makes it #4.
— Aaron Perry (@arnpry) August 22, 2016
Nighttime tornadoes are particularly dangerous for multiple reasons. Download the WeatherNation App for up-to-date information. A Midland Weather Radio can also notify you of warnings in your area, day or night.
— Nicole Estaphan (@NEstaphan) August 22, 2016
(Headline image: Governor Charlie Baker)