BOSTON (CBS) – Governor Patrick declared a state of emergency Wednesday after tornadoes touched down in at least 19 Massachusetts communities.
There are reports of several injuries and at least one person killed as a result of the storm.
Gov. Patrick says a person was killed when a car flipped over in West Springfield.
The governor has reached out on Twitter to ask people to “please stay off the roads. If your area is experiencing a tornado warning, please take shelter and be aware of your surroundings,” he said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.
The storms caused property damage and widespread power outages in towns and cities across the state. The town of Sturbridge was one of the hardest hit areas. At least two tornadoes touched down there.
According to the Governor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency already has crews on the ground in Springfield.
As part of the response, the National Guard will deploy about 1,000 troops to assist in rescue and response efforts.
Governor Patrick has vowed to use whatever state resources are necessary.
The governor has directed that all non-emergency Executive Branch employees living or working in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Counties should not report to work Thursday.
In areas hit the hardest by the storms, school superintendents have been asked to cancel school on Thursday for safety reasons. Crews will be out checking the safety of buildings and roads.
Sen. John Kerry said in a written statement he toured the affected areas Wednesday night. “I’ve spoken directly to Mayor Sarno to express my readiness to fight on behalf of the city of Springfield and every damaged area, effective immediately,” he said. “Today has been a test of faith for our state and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us in these critical next days.”
Sen. Scott Brown said he will be touring the affected areas on Thursday. “Natural disasters of such magnitude do not often occur in our state, and I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life,” he said in a written statement. He said officials at every level need to continue to work together to ensure our towns have the tools and resources they need to rebuild and recover.