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Two Western Mass. towns see tornado touch down, National Weather Service says

Some of the damage in Sandisfield on Sunday night.
Some of the damage in Sandisfield on Sunday night.Megan Smigel

Residents of two Western Massachusetts towns saw a tornado touch down in their communities on Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service, bringing downed trees and limited power outages to at least one of the communities.

Police in Sandisfield notified the weather service that a tornado had touched down at 6:59 p.m., and radar confirmed a tornado over Blandford at 7:28 p.m., according to Torry Gaucher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Norton office.

Earlier in the evening, forecasters wrote in an 8 p.m. discussion that conditions “created a favorable environment for severe thunderstorms that produced a couple of tornadoes in southern Berkshire County and western Hampden County in Massachusetts.” They also noted that scattered thunderstorms with heavy downpours were possible through midnight.

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“[S]cattered thunderstorms with heavy downpours will be moving through eastern MA this evening, but not expected to be severe,” forecasters wrote.

Meanwhile, downed trees were reported on South Main Street in Sandisfield Sunday evening, Gaucher said.

One house in Sandisfield had broken windows but no one in town had been reported injured as of Sunday night, said Sandisfield police Chief Michael Morrison.

“Most of the damage was downed trees in the area,” he said. “No one is hurt that we are aware of.”

The tornado touched down on South Main Street in the center of New Boston, Morrison said: “Just that one area. It must have just touched down, picked up, and moved on.”

Morrison said that one neighborhood experienced power outages, but noted that utility workers had been dispatched to the affected area earlier in the evening. As of around 9:45 p.m., there were no reported outages in the town, according to a map of power outages in the state from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Megan Smigel, who lives on South Main Street, told the Globe that she heard the wind pick up quickly around 7 p.m. When she noticed an explosion across the street, she grabbed her three daughters and went straight to the basement.

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“The wind was very loud but was over quick,” she said. Once everything stopped, she came upstairs to find a large pine tree had fallen onto her neighbor’s deck, along with two other smaller trees, though her property wasn’t damaged.

Others took to social media to post pictures and videos of the tornado and the damage it wrought.

Blandford police and fire officials could not be reached for further information.

Connecticut State Police also said they received multiple reports of a tornado around the Falls Village section of Salisbury in the northwestern corner of the state, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier on Sunday, the weather service announced tornado warnings in several Western Massachusetts communities, including the Northampton area.

“It’s something people need to take seriously,” Gaucher said. “Folks within the box need to seek shelter immediately.”

The weather service had also issued a tornado watch for Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties for Sunday evening that expired at 10 p.m.

Massachusetts has seen other tornadoes in recent years. Last summer, multiple tornadoes touched down in the Cape Cod communities of Harwich, Yarmouth, and West Yarmouth, felling trees and power lines and tearing the roof off a motel at the height of the tourist season.

In 2011, four people were killed when a tornado descended on the Springfield area, leaving a path of destruction in 19 communities.

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And in 2014, a tornado touched down in Worcester and traveled under two miles in four minutes, uprooting trees and damaging cars and homes in its path. No fatalities or injuries were reported.

Globe correspondent Maysoon Khan contributed to this report.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.