Storm slices through Vineyard, Cape Cod; weak tornado confirmed

A waterspout seen from the ship MV Island Home between Woods Hole and Lambert’s Cove.  The waterspout later came ashore and became a brief, weak tornado.
A waterspout seen from the ship MV Island Home between Woods Hole and Lambert’s Cove. The waterspout later came ashore and became a brief, weak tornado.Captain Steve Estrela

A waterspout whirling through Vineyard Sound came ashore in the Woods Hole section of Falmouth on Monday and became a brief, weak tornado on land, the National Weather Service said.

The weather service said that the tornado, which hit at about 9:58 a.m., had an estimated maximum wind speed of 60 to 65 miles per hour, it traveled 0.1 miles, and its path width was 10 yards. No one was injured.

The weather service said that eyewitnesses at the Woods Hole Golf Club indicated four large wooden chairs were “lofted into the air, swirled around and were thrown 500 feet away onto a tennis court. There was no other damage.”


The wind speed of the twister made it an EF-0 tornado, the weakest kind. The forecasters noted that their finding was preliminary.

A ferry captain captured a photograph of the waterspout as it swept toward Woods Hole, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said. A waterspout is essentially a tornado over water.

Pat Nagi took photos and videos of a waterspout from her deck on Martha’s Vineyard, which overlooks Vineyard Sound. She said the waterspout was traveling left to right so it was heading north in the direction of Woods Hole.

“It was absolutely fascinating for somebody like me who’s just a total weather nut,” she told WCVB-TV.

Two other tornadoes hit Southern New England last week.

Forecasters had issued tornado warnings and thunderstorm warnings as a series of strong boomers crashed through Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts on Monday morning.

The National Weather Sevice issued a tornado warning for Block Island, R.I., and more tornado warnings as a storm traveled from Martha’s Vineyard to part of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

The weather service had said earlier a confirmed waterspout was sighted south of Woods Hole at 9:50 a.m. Forecasters could see rotation on their radar, the weather service said.


The forecasters urged people to take cover, warning that the storm could cause flying debris and damage mobile homes, roofs, windows, and cars. It could also bring down trees, the forecasters said.

The storm had sliced through the upper and mid-Cape into Cape Cod Bay by 10:33 a.m., and the warning was canceled.

The forecasters also issued a variety of thunderstorm warnings for Boston, the North Shore, and the South Shore.

Katie Camero and Andres Picon of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.