Neighbors working together after tornado on Cape Cod

Residents are picking up the pieces after Tuesday’s tornado. Owen Cardosi, 16, of West Yarmouth looked at damage along Pleasant Street in Dennisport on Tuesday.
Residents are picking up the pieces after Tuesday’s tornado. Owen Cardosi, 16, of West Yarmouth looked at damage along Pleasant Street in Dennisport on Tuesday.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

YARMOUTH — Stunned residents here are picking up the pieces after Tuesday’s tornado, which uprooted hundreds of trees, damaged homes and yards, and left thousands without power.

But on Merrymount Road, where fences are down and houses are surrounded by fallen branches, the disaster has brought people closer together.

“The whole entire neighborhood is working together,” said Beth Charnes, 29. “They’re giving out resources they’ve found. . . . Throughout the whole day yesterday, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’ ”

One neighbor called for help when an older woman down the street, who was alone during the storm, was panicking, she said. Another with a generator offered their home as a place to cool off.


“It’s just nice, ’cause everybody’s being neighbors and actually caring,” Charnes said.

The shed in Charnes’s yard blew apart, and a large tree knocked over much of the fence. Like many others, she’s spent the day at home, on the phone with insurance companies and landscapers.

She said neighbors told her the fire chief came through earlier, checking to make sure everyone was all right. On Tuesday, firefighters evacuated the neighborhood because of a gas leak.

Though Wednesday was relatively calm, on Tuesday, “everybody was just in panic mode,” Charnes said.

“It’s Cape Cod — you don’t expect a tornado,” she said.

Yarmouth police, meanwhile, posted messages of encouragement Wednesday to the department’s official Facebook page.

“Yarmouth DPW is doing a great job removing trees throughout the town,” police wrote. In a second post, police said workers from Eversource were “all over town clearing trees from wires, restoring power and protecting people from live wires.”

As of 1:17 p.m. Wednesday, 3,744 Yarmouth customers remained with power, according to MEMA.

The tornado also touched down in Harwich, where many businesses were walloped by the wind.


Thomas Blute, owner of H.T. Crosby & Son Monuments, on Wednesday walked through his display area, which was littered with tree branches. Some of the marble stones had snapped in half.

Blute came by after spending the morning cleaning up the damage at his home.

“Nothing trumps death,” Blute said, pointing to a tombstone that still needed shamrocks emblazoned on top. “This family is only in town for two days. You can’t tell them you’re exhausted.”

In Dennis Port, The Sailing Cow Cafe at Glendon Road Beach was packed Wednesday afternoon, as locals and vacationers flocked to one of the few open restaurants in the area.

Linda Boyle, who is living in a nearby RV park while vacationing on the Cape for the summer, said Tuesday’s tornado was terrifying.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this in my entire life,” she said.

Boyle, 67, has some food, but no power — and her fridge and freezer aren’t working. So she did the only logical thing — go to the Sailing Cow with her friend to celebrate National Tequila Day.

“We will survive,” she said, raising a glass.

Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Kellen Browning can be reached at kellen.browning@globe.com.