Two tornadoes whipped through the U.S. state of Massachusetts on Wednesday, claiming four lives and damaging towns and cities. Governor Deval Patrick activated 1,000 of the state's National Guard troops after declaring a state of emergency.
The twisters struck primarily in the western and central parts of the state, touching down in the afternoon rush hour.
In Lexington, in the eastern part of the state, fierce thunder and lightning stormed its way towards Boston, while a tornado warning remained in effect for nearby Newton, a bare 10 miles away.
“Our dog Randall was completely traumatized by the thunder and the wind,” Lexington resident Myra Marshall told Israel National News. She noted that animals often can sense an impending storm long before humans are aware of it. “He was jumping on to small tables where he doesn't fit, and generally acting like a cat on catnip,” Marshall added.
The last tornado to have hit Massachusetts was in 2008, but there have been no fatalities from such a weather system since 1995, when three people died in the town of Great Barrington.
The National Weather Service this week issued a tornado watch for much of the East Coast, including Philadelphia and New York, as well as Boston. Last week, the Midwest was devastated by a series of deadly twisters that left 134 people dead in Joplin, Missouri.
Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expect a tough hurricane system ahead for the coming months. The Atlantic hurricane season official opens on June 1 and the agency is predicting a busy one.
The agency said Thursday it expects to see between 12 to 18 storm systems named this year – and of those, up to six could become major hurricanes packing winds of up to 111 miles per hour or higher.