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Revere tornado was brief, destructive, residents say

REVERE — The tornado was quick, but it was furious.

Residents wandered through their neighborhoods here in a daze this morning, amazed by the scope of the damage.

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“Are we in Kansas?” asked Judy Lane-Grech, 54, a Taft Street resident.

She said she was in her house when she saw her curtains start to blow in. Seconds later, the windows smashed and then everything went dark.

“I just stood there in amazement, it happened so fast,” she said.

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From her back porch she could see that her shed had been destroyed, and a lot of her things had been blown into her neighbor’s back yard.

PHOTOS: Storms hit the Boston area

Steve Capano, also a resident of the neighborhood, said he rushed home when he heard about the storm, and found pieces of his fence strewn about his yard, along with other damage.

“Man, what a mess. I don’t even know where to start. It looks like a war zone.”

Across the street from his house, there was a large metal railing, which he said he thought had flown across the highway from the skating rink.

Alicia Alvarendo, 30, said the wind on Broadway during the storm was so strong that it moved her car from where it was parked on the street to her neighbor’s driveway. She said the car had changed direction and was facing a different way than she had parked it, describing the car as having done “a 360.”

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Joan Wells, owner of Tiny Treasures Child Care on Ambrose Street, said she was in the living room with the kids at about 9:30 a.m. when it started to rain.

“Then it started coming down really heavy, and we grabbed the kids and went down to the basement. ... The kids got nervous, but once we brought them downstairs and gave them Play-Doh they were fine.”

She said the trees were moving quite a bit, and the rain was hitting the windows “like nothing she had ever seen before in her life ... “Things started toppling down like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

“I’ve lived in Revere for a long time and seen heavy rain plenty of times, but never like this. ... You always hear of people in other states experiencing weather like this, and you feel bad for them. It’s so different when you actually experience it for yourself.”

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She said there were wires torn off her house, and a neighbor across the street had a big tree in her yard. The grill on her deck fell over, and a neighbor’s fence was blown into her driveway.

Gerry Iovanna, 59, heard the wind howl, and looked out her front window to see debris flying through the air. As she watched, everything turned an ominous gray.

“I could hardly see anything “ she said. “Just things flaring everywhere.“

Worried about flying glass, she went to the hallway and crouched down. When the storm passed, she came outside to see a large tree had fallen directly on her house.

“I’ve seen a lot of storms and I’ve seen a lot of damage” she said. “But I’ve never seen this “

As she spoke, her brother arrived and embraced her. “We’re going to get through this” he said.

Blinking back tears, she nodded.

Just down the street, Elaine Hardy’s house had mostly been spared. She said the storm was terrifying, arriving with little notice and cutting a destructive path.

“The force of the wind was incredible” she said. “It was so dark.”

Hardy went to her backyard, which was littered with debris. But her statue of the Virgin Mary was unharmed.

“She saved my house,” she said

“The windows were shaking, the whole house was shaking,” said Alex Khanboubi of Mountain Avenue. “We have a big tree that broke down and have no power right now.”

Alex Peraza, 23, also of Mountain Avenue, said his home sustained some damage, including a hole in his ceiling. “I noticed the winds got a lot stronger, like really, really strong, and the rain itself, to the point where my air conditioner actually flew in the room,” Peraza said. He did not have power, either.

Peraza also said he came outside after the storm to see a truck stopped in the middle of the road that had stopped to call for medical attention for a baby in the vehicle. He said the couple in the car got into an ambulance with the child, leaving the truck in the road until Revere police towed it.

Carol Cappola, 71, of Taft Street, said, “All of a sudden the house shook and it sounded like a bomb went off.”

She said the sky then went dark.

“I didn’t even know what was happening,” she said.

She said the storm passed very quickly, and she went out outside to see the extensive damage on her street.

While the tornado cut a swath of damage through some areas, other areas were left completely unscathed.

Pat Maniff said her house wasn’t badly damaged, and as she walked through the neighborhood, she couldn’t believe the damage.

“I am in a state of shock. That was the strongest winds I’ve ever seen,” she said.

Globe correspondent Trisha Thadani contributed to this report.
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