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Worcester, MA, tornado filmed by former tornado victim: Reminds of 1953 disaster

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An EF-0 tornado hit downtown Worcester, Mass., Sunday night, packing winds of up to 85 mph. Video recorded by a roof-mounted camera on the three-story building where Michael Roescher lives, was used by the National Weather Service to help confirm that a tornado did in fact touch down in the city.

What's bizarre is that Mr. Roescher has a long history of brushes with tornadoes, including having his nearby Monson, Ma., home leveled in 2011 by an EF-3 tornado, according to the Worcester Telegram on Sept. 2. While most residents find the specter of encountering a tornado in Massachusetts rare, Worcester was in fact the sight of one of the most damaging tornadoes in U.S. history back in 1953.

So far, there are no injury reports, although multiple cars were damaged due to uprooted trees falling on them. People in parts of downtown Worcester continue to clean up after the tornado touched down Sunday night.

Michael Roescher sent his video to WWLP 22News via reportit@wwlp.com. 22News forwarded the video to the National Weather Service in Boston, who verified they believe it to be legitimate video of the 85 mph twister that brought trees down and damaged homes in Worcester Sunday night.

A June 1st, 2011 tornado leveled Roescher's Monson home. That experience inspired him to attend classes to become a weather spotter.

And bad weather seems to follow him and his family. Just eight days before the Monson tornado, his mother was only two blocks away from the EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011.

Roescher was also in Revere, Ma., taking his cat to a veterinarian this past July, when an EF-2 tornado hit that city. Sunday night's tornado touched down between 8:10pm and 8:14pm, carving a path of 1.7 miles with a width of 0.1 miles.

Although Worcester County in central Massachusetts is thousands of miles away from the infamous "Tornado Alley," the county has long been plagued by frequent and damaging tornadoes. According to data from the Tornado History Project, there have been 159 tornadoes in Massachusetts from Aug. 1951 through Sept. 2013, with 41 of those occurring in Worcester County.

But anytime a major storm makes its way through Worcester, residents who are old enough to remember are always reminded of the Worcester tornado of 1953. That tornado caused 93 fatalities and 1228 injuries, making it one of the most deadly weather events in Massachusetts’ history, according to GoLocalWorcester.com.

The tornado stayed on the ground for 90 minutes, traveling 48 miles across Central Massachusetts. It became the 21st deadliest tornado in the history of the United States. The storm caused $52 million in damage, which translates to $349 million in today's dollars. After the Fujita scale was developed in 1971, it was classified as an F4 tornado, the second highest rating on the scale.

Thankfully Sunday night's relatively mild storm narrowly missed Saint Vincent Hospital, causing only minor damage to trees, cars and some homes. However, Mr. Roescher has had his fill of tornadoes for now.

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