The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal


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    Sam’s Weather Report

    Weather of the Week

    A summer week to kick off June, with highs in the 80s until late week as a storm system moves on through, dropping temperatures only to the mid-70s into next week. Then it appears that we may have another hit of warm weather late next week into the week after with the potential for the New England storm season to fire back up again and (hopefully) it will be a good season. 

    What’s Going on in the Weather World? 

    13 years ago on Saturday, there was the infamous June 1st, 2011 tornado here in our backyard. This tornado tore a 39-mile path of destruction from Westfield to Charlton. Let’s go back in time to the morning of June 1st, 2011.

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    Severe weather had been expected 5 days before, but the day of wasn’t expecting much in terms of tornadoes, never mind long-tracked, significant tornadoes. The severe threat was mostly for wind and hail, with an elevated tornado threat. The morning before the tornado was relatively busy across NY State and Vermont, with hail storms damaging buildings and homes. At 10:05 am, the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for most of northern New York State, all of VT, and portions of Western MA and Northern CT. A broken line of cells was observed on radar in Western NY and PA. By 1:00 pm, confidence increased that there was a substantial tornado threat and the SPC issued a Tornado Watch. At 2 pm, severe storms tracked from Eastern NY into Southern VT, one cell produced a large 3.25” hailstone in Shaftesbury, VT. 

    At 4:00 pm, a supercell was spotted moving towards the city of Springfield and within 15 minutes a tornado was touching down in Westfield heading for the city. Starting weak at first, this tornado rapidly intensified as it entered West Springfield, killing 2 in the city. The tornado crossed into downtown Springfield via the CT River, overturning a semi-truck on the Memorial bridge connecting the two cities. It crossed I-91 and entered the city, beginning to cause significant damage across the city’s South End. The tornado intensified as it entered Wilbraham, coming very close to Minnechaug, roughly a mile south of the school. Homes in its path were destroyed. The worst observed damage came from Monson, where the tornado struck downtown directly. Houses here were completely decimated and the former high school in Monson was gone; now the former HS is the town’s Police Dept. 

    In Brimfield, the tornado reached its peak width of half a mile. It caused deforestation in the State Forest and swept homes from their foundations. At the Village Green Campground, 95 out of 96 trailers were completely decimated beyond recognition. One woman was killed when she declined to take shelter from the tornado. In Dedham and Natick, both towns found papers that originated from Brimfield and Monson respectively. In Millbury, MA, debris from Springfield’s Cathedral High School (which was demolished after being destroyed in the tornado) was found. 

    More structural and tree damage continued into Sturbridge and Southbridge; Southbridge Airport was struck and multiple civilian aircraft were thrown into the nearby woods by the tornado. After devastating the Brookside, Harrington, and Charlton Street neighborhoods, the tornado finally dissipated in SW Charlton at 5:27 pm. The tornado was on the ground for an hour and ten minutes and was rated an EF3 with winds up to 160 mph. 3 lives were lost and major damage had been brought.

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