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Trees crash through homes; water rescue made during severe storms on Sunday

A tree smashed through the front of a home on Columbia Street in Malden during Sunday night's storm.Rob McDougall

A severe thunderstorm that ripped through Massachusetts Sunday damaged homes, flooded streets, overturned a sailboat in Boston Harbor, and at one point knocked out power for more than 31,000 customers in the state.

The storm rolled in Sunday afternoon after the National Weather Service had issued severe thunderstorm and flooding warnings for parts of Massachusetts, including Boston.

More than 1,200 customers were still without electricity as of 10 p.m. Monday, according to a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency map of outages. Crews also continued to clean up trees Monday afternoon that had crashed through homes around the state.

A large tree tore through the front of a home on Columbia Street in Malden when it toppled over during the storm. Michael Macken, who lives next door, said he saw the tree resting on the collapsed front of the house when he came home around 6 p.m. Sunday.

“Because it was top heavy, the wind blew the tree over and just pulled up the pavement and part of the roots from the ground,” Macken said. “It’s almost like a missile went through the sky and landed on the house.”


Part of Macken’s driveway was damaged from roots that were yanked out of the ground during the fall.

The family of four who lived in the home were inside when the tree fell. Macken said they were all uninjured.

Trees also crashed into homes in Worcester, Athol, Fitchburg, Middleton, Wakefield, and West Brookfield Sunday evening, according to the weather service. Lightening sparked fires at two homes in Springfield and Somerville, and also damaged buildings in Belmont and Salem.

Wakefield resident Shelia Callaghan said trees landed on two homes on her street, with one tearing through the front of a family’s house. She said she didn’t hear that tree fall since she was ushering her family into their basement at the time.


“I was closing my windows when I saw a tree branch fly by my house sideways and then I brought my family down into the basement,” Callaghan said. “The wind blew through really fast and hard.”

Wakefield police wrote on the department’s official Facebook page that the force was “inundated” with calls for downed wires and trees Sunday night. Roads there were also flooded by heavy rain.

Wind gusts as fast as 42 miles per hour were recorded at Logan Airport and about 1.3 inches of rain fell on Boston, weather service meteorologist Hayden Frank said. A 62 miles per hour gust was recorded in Worcester, while Norwood experienced 59 miles per hour winds at one point during the storm.

Around 5 p.m., a man and a woman were rescued by Good Samaritans after their sailboat, The Isabel, overturned near Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor, said Petty Officer Briana Carter, a spokesperson for the United States Coast Guard.

Good Samaritans on the vessels The Seahorse and Reel Hustle pulled the boaters out of the water and safely brought them to shore, Carter said. The victims’ conditions have not been released.

A storm ripped through Boston Harbor Sunday afternoon. The crew of an Ensign sailboat was rescued by a powerboat out of Quincy, named Reel Hustle. Joe Berkeley

Images and videos of the storm showed flooded streets and damage to property around the state.

In Boston, a fallen tree damaged several cars at East Eighth and Old Harbor streets.


A storm rolled through Boston and five cars were damaged when lightning brought down tree branches at East Eighth and Old Harbor streets. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Rain flooded an underpass and partially submerged cars on South Spencer Road in Spencer.

Some areas, including Saugus, saw heavy hail as the storm moved through.

Route 28 between Elm Street and Richardson Lane in Stoneham was closed Monday morning after a utility pole had been damaged, Stoneham police tweeted.

While Boston has seen a sunny start to Monday morning, more thunderstorms could roll in during the afternoon.

Parts of Southern New England could see more rain or another severe thunderstorm between 2 and 8 p.m. Monday, with areas south of the Massachusetts Turnpike expected to get hit the hardest, the weather service said.

Affected areas may see hail, flash flooding, and damaging wind gusts.

Caroline Enos can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.