Yesterday Western Massachusetts was hit with a series of devastating storms accompanies by several tornadoes. Thunderstorms had been predicted to arrive in our town around 6PM so we spent most of the day outside working in the garden. Around 4PM the skies got dark and reports on TV indicated there were tornadoes to the west of us.
We managed to get the dog and our three cats corralled and headed to the basement where we continued to watch TV tracking the weather coming nearer and nearer to our town. The storm passed and we emerged from the basement, only to hear there was another storm right behind it. Once again we wrangled the animals and headed back to the basement. Through the little windows in the basement we could tell when the storm had passed. It was calmer outside and it was much brighter. So again we emerged to see what was going on outside – only to find out there was a third wave of storms, so back downstairs we went. The whole thing lasted about four hours. We were glued to the TV the entire time…mesmerized by the video of the tornado crossing the Connecticut River and sucking up the water into a funnel cloud.
The tornado narrowly missed our town, but devastated Monson, the next town over. While we feel very lucky to have been spared, we know several people who were not so lucky. Our dog sitter told us her sister’s roof was a casualty of the storm and our vet’s house also lost the roof and is uninhabitable. They found the neighbor’s chimney cap in their downstairs bathroom.
It’s truly amazing the amount of damage the tornado left in its wake. Looking at the hillside in Monson you can clearly see the path the tornado took by the strip of sheared tree tops. The tornado also tossed a car on its side and slammed into a tree.
It looked like Armageddon! Houses lifted off of their foundations, roofs completely ripped off, windows blown out, trees shredded… The First Church of Monson had entire walls sheared off.
All the media outlets were set up to report on the aftermath of the storm and helicopters circled above to get the aerial view of the devastation. Many local residents were wandering around town to witness the destruction. We overheard a woman pointing in the distance saying “that was so-and-so’s house…”
The pictures don’t begin to describe what it is like. It’s one of those things you need to see in person to fully understand the impact. We feel lucky to have been spared by the storm. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the storm.
The Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, which provides response services to people in Central and Western Massachusetts, is accepting donations to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations help people affected by the storms that hit the Springfield area, along with other disasters that happen at home and aboard.