CONCORD (CBS) — National Weather Service officials determined that a tornado caused the extensive damage that residents in several Massachusetts towns woke up to Monday morning.
According to officials, an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds of around 100 mph carved a path of destruction about 400 yards wide and a half-mile long in Concord between just after 3 a.m.
Throughout Concord, branches pierced roofs, downed power lines, and shut roads, as crews were left with the painstaking task of cleaning up.
Nobody was injured during the tornado, but a worker clearing debris was hurt when a piece of tree shot out of a wood chipper. Town officials said 39 homes were damaged, and one had structural damage.
A severe tornado warning was first issued around 3:15 a.m. for Middlesex County. It went until 4 a.m.
The NWS report said the tornado touched down at 3:20 a.m. near Cambridge Turnpike, and continued northeast for a few minutes before lifting.
National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham said he investigated the damage, looking at how and in what direction trees fell, including if there was twisting involved, to determine that the tornado had touched down.
The last confirmed tornado in Massachusetts touched down on June 23, 2015 in Westminister.
It is rare for tornadoes to occur at night. This was the first ‘nocturnal’ tornado in the Boston area since 1958.
This tornado was also abnormal because of the lack of hail, thunder, or lightning associated with it.
Emergency crews were busy in both Concord and Marlboro and MEMA was on hand to provide assistance to the community hours after heavy storms rolled through the area.
MEMA’s Kurt Schwartz praised the town of Concord, including the Police and Fire Departments and town manager, for their emergency alert system and quick response.
“The system worked, and I just really commend the town for such a tremendous response,” said Schwartz, adding that his organization’s assistance to the town “is not going to be over today.”
The Concord Fire Chief said the town had issued a Code Red, a reverse 911 to the town’s residents, urging them to stay home because so many road ways were blocked due to fallen trees and live power lines. He said there was heavy storm damage in the Hawthorne Road area in the 400 and 500 blocks of Lexington Road.
“If you’re travelling through Concord, you want to try to avoid that this morning,” said Chief Mark Cotreau earlier Monday morning. “If you live in the area, you want to try to stay home if you can. Certainly if you go outside, you want to really be aware that some of these trees have wires within them, and they’re charged.”
The chief said that, at some point, power would be shut off to the area because they have to reinstall power line polls. He said they had some structural damage to homes, but “nothing major.”
The NWS report said that extreme drought conditions may have weakened root systems and caused more trees to be uprooted.
One large tree in the front yard of a home on Hawthorne Road was completely uprooted.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Concord resident Jenna McNicolas after a tree came crashing down in her yard, taking out her electricity. “It’s been like the worst morning ever, it’s so scary … I don’t think my heart has ever beat that fast, it was insane.”
She said that it felt like the severe weather rushed through in about three minutes.
“It sounded like things were literally crashing, like breaking glass,” she said. “We were happy it fell that way, and not the other way around.”
At Millbrook Farms, a tree crashed down on a greenhouse. It will take a few days of cleanup–meaning just as many without business.
“Never had anything like this, never,” said owner Sal Giurleo. “Just heard the wind, I mean, it was atrocious … it’s gonna take a few days to clean up, and it’ll cost money.”
The severe weather also brought down trees and power lines west of Boston.
There were about 124 houses without power in Marlboro Monday morning.
Watch: Storm Damage In Marlboro
Walker Road in Marlboro was shut down Monday morning after a large tree fell, taking down power lines with it.
Police were present to block the road, and National Grid was on scene. Crews turned off all power on the street, and on several side streets as well.
A neighbor told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler that the wind and rain were so strong that they shook his house and woke him up.
There were also power lines down on Curtis Avenue, Maple Street, and Framingham and Dartmouth Roads.
The National Weather Service said they would not assess the damage in Marlboro.
In Hopkinton, police said a downed tree shut down Proctor Street.