The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado briefly touched down in Stoughton during a fast-moving storm Thursday afternoon.
The Category 0 tornado moved a quarter of a mile up Washington Street at 4:31 p.m., with winds reaching 85 miles per hour, meteorologists said. Category 0 tornadoes register wind speeds between 65 and 85 miles per hour, the Weather Service said.
Weather Service officials made the determination of the twister hitting ground after interviewing witnesses and surveying the scene Friday morning and examining damage patterns, including broken trees, which are often strong indicators of severe storm activity, meteorologist Bill Simpson said. The tornado dragged several 5,000-pound trailers about 6 feet, blew out Baystate Ford’s service garage door, and downed two large pine trees, the Weather Service said.
“It was kind of wild,” said Joseph Mancuso, 22, a technician at the dealership. Customers and salespeople were in the shop when the weather hit. Mancuso said no one panicked, “but it was kind of a weird situation. It was very odd to see in Massachusetts.’’
Stoughton police responded to a call for a possible tornado at Baystate Ford just after 4:30 p.m. Winds of 70 miles per hour nearly ripped a garage door from its hinges and lifted a handful of trailers into the air at the dealership on Washington Street, officials said.
“All of the sudden it got real, real windy,” he said.
Mancuso was coming into the shop when the winds blew the big, roughly 10-by-20-foot metal garage door nearly off its hinges. Police reported to the Weather Service that the partially closed garage door was destroyed.
“The only reason it didn’t go flying across the parking lot is because there’s a little metal bar connecting the door to the frame.” Mancuso said.
Though the severe weather was a bit of a surprise, it is not out of the ordinary. “When we have the east flow off the ocean intersecting these bands of thunderstorms, you can get some rotation,” Simpson said.
But, Mancuso said, “it’s not exactly how I was anticipating spending the last hour of my workday.”