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Witnesses describe damage in Revere

A long-time Revere resident’s morning shopping trip took a serious turn Monday when a rare tornado ripped through the city, shattering windows, downing power lines, and sending pieces of roofing through the air.

Nicole DeFeo, 21, said she was buying a card at Walgreens on Broadway Street when she heard a loud bang and people screaming.

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“Everyone in the store was just shocked, and people were screaming ‘what’s going on!’ ” DeFeo said. “One lady ran in crying, another woman ran in saying she got hit in the head with a metal plate, and another guy was screaming because he left his kid in the car.”

Monday’s tornado came as severe thunderstorms drenched the Boston area. According to the National Weather Service, it was the first time in at least 64 years that the area north of Boston has seen a tornado.

The weather service reported flash flooding and various other damage around the Boston area, though nowhere seemed to be hit as hard as Revere.

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As of Monday afternoon, 3,000 Revere residents were still without power, and officials were trying to gauge the full scope of the damage, said Scott MacLeod, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

“I wouldn’t have even left this morning if I knew something like this was going to happen,” DeFeo said. “I’ve lived in Revere my whole life, and I’ve seen storms but never a tornado.”

DeFeo said her home near the beach was not significantly damaged, but Broadway Street looked “completely torn up.” In particular, Master Auto on Broadway lost its roof in the storm.

“The wind was blowing from the rotary and then it just shifted and started heading towards the garage,” said Anthony Cincone, the co-owner. “As soon as I opened my office door, I saw the roof just blow away. ... Tonight I can go star-watching.”

Cincone said he has never seen a storm like the one that wreaked havoc Monday morning.

“It was scary, because you didn’t know when it was going to stop,” he said. “Within 20 seconds, the wind picked up and you just heard this howling. You could see everything moving ... glass shattering, flying everywhere.”

Video shows tornado ripping though Revere

Trisha Thadani can be reached at her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.
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