Severe Storms Bring Tornadoes to New England


A line of severe thunderstorms moved across New England on Friday, spawning at least three tornadoes south of Boston and east of Providence, R.I., and generating strong gusts that toppled trees and power lines, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in connection with the storms, which prompted the National Weather Service to issue flash flood warnings for parts of Massachusetts, including Boston.

Kevin Cadima, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Boston, said a pair of tornadoes had been confirmed in Rhode Island: one in Scituate, west of Providence, at around 8:45 a.m., and another about five minutes later in the nearby town of Johnston. Survey teams were in the areas assessing the damage, he said.

Another tornado was confirmed on Friday morning near Mansfield, Mass., southwest of Boston, the Weather Service said.

The line of thunderstorms strengthened over parts of New England just after sunrise on Friday, drenching Rhode Island with heavy rain before moving toward the eastern tip of Massachusetts, the Weather Service in Boston. By late Friday morning, the storms in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts had weakened to rain showers, Mr. Cadima said. The rains had moved out to sea by Friday afternoon.

Armand Randolph, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, said the storms had mainly battered the towns of Scituate and Johnston, as well as northern Providence.

“What we’ve seen so far is a lot of trees knocked over on the road,” said Mr. Randolph, who had assessed the damage in four locations in Rhode Island.

Two houses in Scituate had windows blown out and roof tiles ripped off in the storm, Mr. Randolph said. The second tornado tore through a cemetery in Johnston, leaving “trees and debris everywhere,” he said.

Amtrak suspended train service between Boston and Providence on Friday because of downed trees and power lines in the Providence area, disrupting travel along the busy Northeast Corridor. Service was restored around 1:45 p.m., Amtrak said, after more than two hours, but delays continued into the afternoon because of residual “rail congestion.”

Todd Manni, the director of emergency management for the town of Smithfield, R.I., just northwest of Providence, said that a tornado warning for Smithfield expired at around 9:15 a.m., and that the storms had moved on to Massachusetts by late Friday morning.

The Fire Department in Mansfield, Mass., urged residents to take cover on Friday morning and protect themselves from flying debris. The storms flooded one underpass, and downed trees that blocked roads in Mansfield, the police said. By 11:20, all of the major roads had reopened, the police said.

The flash flood warnings were in effect until noon. Forecasters warned that flash flooding was most likely to occur near highways and small creeks and streams, and in urban and low-lying areas.

Mr. Randolph, of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, said officials had not received any reports of injuries. By late Friday morning, he said, the storms had subsided.

“There was still a bit of wind but the rain has stopped,” Mr. Randolph said. “Slowly, clouds started to dissipate and the sun started to come out.”

Judson Jones contributed reporting.





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