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Microburst packing 100 mph winds damaged homes, tore down trees in Pepperell during Friday night storm

Winds racing as fast as 100 mph knocked down trees and damaged homes when a microburst hit Pepperell during a Friday night storm, according to a statement from the National Weather Service.

The weather service said a microburst that was 0.3 miles long whipped through several streets at 8:25 p.m., during a storm that left 70,000 National Grid customers without power across the state.

Several large trees were knocked down by the gusts and landed on homes near Brookline Street and Cheyenne Road, the weather service said. Some trees near Algonquin Road snapped about two to three feet from the base of their trunks, and trees were also blown down on Gosselin and Seminole Drives.


Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the weather service, said microbursts usually last between 15 to 30 minutes.

“Usually these strong storms don’t sit over one spot for too long because they are so fast moving,” Dunham said.

Dunham said the 100 mph winds recorded in Pepperell were the fastest gusts recorded during Friday’s storm. Wind gusts of up to 90 mph also caused damage in Groton and Westford during the storm.

Video from a done showed trees blown down in a straight line near the Cow Pond Brook Conservation Area in Groton, and an 89 mph gust was recorded at MIT’s Millstone Hill Observatory near the Groton/Westford line, according to the weather service.

Trees toppled over and tore down wires in other parts of the state, including Worcester, Chelsmford, Chelsea, and Holyoke, the weather service said.

The weather service issued a tornado watch for parts of central and western Massachusetts before the storm, but no tornadoes touched down.

Caroline Enos can be reached at caroline.enos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.