WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – It was a busy day of cleanup for people in Worcester after a tornado touched down Sunday night. 22News Reporter Kait Walsh went to Worcester to look at the damage and talk with some surprised residents.
“Everyone saying not to worry about tornadoes in Massachusetts needs to change their minds and needs to find a way to stay safe,” said Michael Roescher. He knows that through experience: The June 1, 2011 tornado totaled his Monson home. His daughter was able to get in the basement, but the house collapsed on him as he was on the stairs to the basement. He had thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Since then, he has tracked weather patterns with cameras on the roof of his new apartment in Worcester. He has three cameras set up, overlooking the Worcester skyline to the Northwest. They captured the funnel cloud of the tornado.
Roescher said by the time the radio alerted residents, the tornado had already swept through.
The EF-0 tornado that moved through Worcester was the third in Massachusetts this year. In July 2014, there was one in Revere, and one in the Berkshire County town of Dalton just the day before.
“The thing is that if it is a tornado, and it’s forming near you, you’ve got seconds. You know, you’ve got seconds to find cover. The people of Revere weren’t as lucky as Worcester was this time,” Roescher said.
While Roescher was seeking cover inside, he said many of his neighbors were running outside to experience such strong winds. It’s something people in this part of the state said they’ve never seen before and it’s something they were talking about as the cleanup effort continued.
“It was just windy, and then it was like lightning. And then I started to know,” six year-old Jacob Dunschee of Worcester said.
“He yelled to me, ‘Mom, there’s a tornado.’ And I knew he was nervous because he was walking around the house and shutting off all the lights and I said, ‘No, we’re not going to have a tornado. It’s just heat lightning.’ And sure enough, there was a tornado!” said Susan Dunschee, Jacob’s mom.
Winds of up to 85 mph smashed a tree into an apartment window and shattered the rear windshield of a car. However, residents of the city’s Vernon Hill neighborhood were glad they were all able to help clear branches, without anyone injured in the tornado.