Powerful thunderstorms moved through the Boston area around 9 a.m. Monday drenching the area with flooding rain and gusty winds in spots. The rain was so heavy that roads quickly became flooded causing havoc for those commuters caught in the storm. One such location was along busy Route 1 in Lynnfield, where high water forced closure of the roadway because of flooding at the Lynnfield Tunnel. Many commuters pulled off the road and into business parking lots to escape the dangerous driving conditions.
Melrose saw many flooded streets, namely portions of the Lynn Fells Parkway and in and around Upham Street. Stoneham was flooded in spots as well with numerous reports of flooding in low lying areas in neighboring cities and towns. Extensive flooding was also reported in Danvers.
However, the bigger story from this mornings severe weather was a tornado in Revere, which has been confirmed by the National Weather Service. The tornado hit the downtown area of this city of approximately 53,000 ripping trees from the ground, damaging buildings, including ripping a roof off a auto repair shop and even reports of a few cars being tossed about. The Revere City Hall also sustained damage and preliminary reports estimate the building will be closed for several days. Miraculously there were no reports of any serious injuries, despite the widespread and extensive damage.
Many roads were closed and police immediately sealed off the damaged area. Routes 107, 60, 1A and the Revere Beach Parkway were all closed into the early afternoon, making for near impossible travel from coastal Essex County toward Boston. Some goods news is that several of these roads have now been reopened and will help ease the afternoon and evening commute out of Boston.
According to National Grid about 2,800 residents lost power. Crews were on the scene quickly and as of mid afternoon most residents have had their power restored.
Mayor Dan Rizzo stated that a 5 ton air conditioning unit atop the roof of the senior center was blown off the roof into the yard next door. Preliminary reports stated hundreds of trees are down, windows blown out of buildings, significant roof damage to structures and downed wires throughout the area.
The National Weather Service has a team of meteorologists on the scene this afternoon and they will investigate such things as the wind speed, duration of the storm, storm track and of course the damage sustained by the neighborhoods that were hit by this historic storm.
Historic because this is the first reported tornado in Suffolk County since records started to be kept in 1950. Suffolk County includes Boston and only a few communities to its north.
Reports of 1 to 3 inches of rain fell in the area, including Wakefield, Melrose, Stoneham and other surrounding communities. Topsfield, a rural town about 30 miles north of Boston, sustained damage and this may have been the result of a micro burst in that area. There were reports of many trees down in Needham.
It appears we are going to see another round of showers and storms come through the area later in the afternoon and this evening. Severe Thunderstorm Watches are up across most of the Commonwealth with Severe Thunderstorm Warnings posted for areas across Worcester County as of 4 p.m. Keep an eye to the sky because when that tornado hit Revere this morning they were only in a 2% risk area. You never know what Mother Nature will do.