A small tornado with winds up to 100 mph ripped through Concord, Massachusetts in the early morning hours on Monday, the National Weather Service has confirmed, damaging dozens of homes, toppling trees and knocking down power lines.
Many side streets in town remained closed as of noon, including Lexington, Alcott and Independence roads. Trees and power lines have been reported down across town. The fire department is asking people to avoid the area if possible as they work to reopen affected roadways.
The fire chief said that 39 homes in two neighborhoods were damaged, but only one sustained serious structural damage. The worst of the damage was concentrated in an area about 400 yards wide and a half mile long.
A worker was injured during the clean up that ensued later on Monday; however, no one was injured during the storm.
"We all got lucky on this one," Gov. Charlie Baker said after viewing the storm damage on Monday afternoon. "It was an extraordinary amount of damage for such a short hit."
"We are thankful that no residents were injured during last night's storm," added Concord Police Chief Joseph O'Connor. "We ask that everyone be patient during today's cleanup and stay as far away from the damaged areas as possible."
Officials credited the advanced warning from the National Weather Service with helping to keep people safe. One resident said the alert allowed him and his family to get to their basement before the storm hit.
Damage was also extensive in nearby Marlborough, where trees and lines are down on Curtis Avenue and Maple and Church streets. Power is out to many in the area, including in Westborough and Southborough, according to National Grid.
More than 600 customers across the state were without power Monday, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
A tornado warning was issued for Middlesex County around 3 a.m. Monday, but has since been lifted. The National Weather Service is working to determine if a tornado in fact touched down. Severe thunderstorm warnings were also issued for many areas of the state.
A spokesman for Gov. Charlie Baker said emergency management officials are on the ground to assess damage and support local police and fire.
"While no injuries are reported at this time, residents are urged to be aware of their surroundings, report any downed power lines and avoid areas where cleanup efforts are occurring," said Billy Pitman, Baker's press secretary.
MEMA is urging anyone whose home or property was damaged to take photos, document the damage and contact their insurance company.