Carolina Morales weeps after witnessing the devastation caused to her home during a Revere tornado on Monday July 28, 2014. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
For the first time in 64 years, a tornado tore through a Suffolk County community, leaving in its destructive 2-mile path thousands of shaken residents who were grateful that it wasn't worse.
The EF-2 tornado reached wind gusts of 120 miles-per-hour when it struck Revere at 9:32 a.m., ripping roofs from homes, plucking trees from the ground, downing power lines and overturning at least one vehicle.
No major injuries or fatalities were reported.
Revere declared a local state of emergency following the storm, and state emergency response officials were still assessing damage as of Monday afternoon.
Tornadoes are rare in Massachusetts, although an outbreak of storms in June 2011 badly damaged downtown Springfield, killing three people.
Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo said at a 4:30 p.m. press conference that thirteen structures were declared uninhabitable due to severe damage. Nearly 70 structures suffered significant damage, Rizzo said. About 2,800 residents were without power Monday afternoon, though the majority of outages were expected to be fixed by midnight.
State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan said all downed electrical wires should be considered live, and should be reported.
Governor Deval Patrick said the extent and cost of the destruction was still being assessed.
“To see the damage right down this very corridor from this storm is amazing... and frankly it’s a blessing that no one was hurt,” he said.
A shelter was set up at the Rumney Marsh Academy, though Rizzo said he had not heard of a significant need.
According to survey results from the NWS, the tornado had a 2-mile path length and a 3/8-mile width.
"Thankfully and miraculously there were no fatalities or injuries reported as a result of this tornado," the NWS said in its report.
To put the Revere tornado's EF-2 classification in perspective, an EF-O tornado has winds of 65-85 miles-per-hour, and an EF-5 has winds of at least 200 miles-per-hour.
It was the first instance of a confirmed tornado in Suffolk County since 1950, according to the NWS.
Residents who suffered damage are encourage to contact their insurer as soon as possible, according to Frank O’Brien, PCI vice president state government affairs.
"Once you have filed your claim, there are a number of things you can do such as photographing the damage and making an inventory of what was lost and damaged to expedite the process of recovery," O'Brien said.
Most tornado, windstorm, hail and similar severe weather-related losses are covered either by, homeowners, renters, commercial, or automobile insurance policies.
No official tornado warning was issued for Revere before the storm, which lasted four minutes.
"The whole warning thing would have been great," said Rizzo. "It would have been nice to know to get people out of harm's way, but as it worked out thankfully we didn't have to worry about [fatalities]."