Thursday, June 9, 2016

New England's Worst Tornado On Record Struck On This Date In 1953

Worcester, County, Massachusett tornado, Jume 9, 1953  
Let's face it.

New England isn't exactly tornado alley.

Oh, sure we get tornadoes. Quite a few of them, in fact. On average, there's a handful every year.

Almost all of them are brief and small, and only cause relatively minor damage.

On this date in 1953 though, New England had a major and tragic exception to our relative lack of deadly tornadoes.

The Worcester County tornado killed 94 people, injured 1,000 or so people and damaged or destroyed a good 4,000 buildings.

It was a classic Midwestern style wedge shaped tornado, wide and powerful. It was as much as a mile wide and left scenes of destruction familiar to people now used to news video of entire neighborhoods leveled by this type of storm.

It estimated that under current tornado classifications, the Worcester County Tornado would have been a strong EF4 twister which would have packed winds of close to 200 mph.  

Debris from the Worcester Tornado was found as far east as Cape Cod and adjoining waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Wrecked house in Worcester, Massachusetts after
New England's deadliest tornado on record, June 9, 1953  

The Worcester County tornado came a day after an even worse tornado in and near Flint, Michigan.  That tornado, which would have been an EF5 with winds of at least 250 mph, killed 116 people.

Another devastating tornado hit Waco, Texas earlier in 1953, smashing through the city's downtown during the afteroon rush hour and killing 114 people.

Interestingly, arguably New England's second worst tornado on record hit the Springfield, Monson and Brimfield areas of Massachusetts on June 1, 2011.

The year 2011 was also among the worst tornado years in American history. That was the year that mega-tornadoes destroyed large swaths of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri, among many other cities.

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