It was a one-two punch. The National Weather Service says two twisters hit New England Tuesday, one in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts.
No one was injured in either tornado, though there was tree and property damage, the weather service said in a public information statement.
The first tornado touched down around 3:31 p.m. in North Providence, R.I., on Meadow View Boulevard. Its wind speeds reached an estimated 90 to 100 miles per hour, making it an EF-1 tornado, the weather service said.
It traveled from North Providence northeast to the neighboring town of Lincoln, R.I. Along the way, it uprooted and snapped trees, downed large branches, and blew shingles off houses. It lifted near Christopher Drive in Lincoln around 3:34 p.m.
It traveled about 1.5 miles, and the damage path was 250 yards at its widest, the weather service said.
The second tornado, spawned by the same storm cell, hit at about 4:13 p.m. in Norton, on Freeman Street just north of West Main Street (Route 123). Its wind speeds reached 90 to 95 miles per hour, making it also an EF-1 tornado, the weather service said.
It traveled northeast through town. The twister downed and snapped trees, including oak and pine trees that were snapped midway up and a few that were snapped near their bases. It eventually lifted at the southernmost portion of Reservoir Street around 4:15 p.m.
It traveled about 0.8 miles, and the damage path was 170 yards at its widest, the weather service said.
The forecasters said the information in the report was preliminary.
Weather service meteorologist Joe Dellicarpini said at a news conference Wednesday morning in Lincoln that forecasters knew there would be thunderstorms Tuesday, but the tornadoes were “a little bit unexpected.” He said there was “a little bit more going on yesterday” in the atmosphere than forecasters realized.
The tornadoes were spawned as powerful thunderstorms crashed through the region Tuesday afternoon, dumping rain, hurling hail, and whipping up high winds that knocked down trees and wires.
In Lincoln, “everybody was in a panic in the streets,” the fire chief said after the twister ripped through a neighborhood.
Martin Finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org