Devastating EF2 Tornado with winds up to 120 mph strikes, Revere, USA

“Nobody here has ever seen damage like what we’ve seen this morning,” Mayor Daniel Rizzo said
Tornado Hampton 02.06.12

Revere residents will be recovering for days after an EF2 tornado with wind gusts up to 120 mph left sections of the city ravaged, with multiple building collapses, possible gas leaks, power lines down, trees uprooted and cars overturned.

“Nobody here has ever seen damage like what we’ve seen this morning,” Mayor Daniel Rizzo said. “There was no warning at all. People were terrified.”

Fire Chief Gene Doherty said 65 buildings were damaged, with 13 now uninhabitable.

As of late this afternoon, 2,800 home were without power. Repairs are not expected until midnight. But no serious injuries are being reported after roofs were torn off homes and a baby was injured by glass when a tree fell on the car the infant was in on Mountain Avenue.

“We’re fortunate when this did occur most people had already left for work,” Doherty said.

The National Weather Service said the twister lasted from 9:32 a.m. to 9:36 a.m. and was three-eights of a mile wide and two miles long as it cut through Chelsea and mostly Revere.

The tornado did drop to an EF1, but there were pockets of severe damage from the winds that whipped from 100 to 120 mph making it an EF2 on the Fujita Scale, according to the weather service. The worst tornado is an EF5.

The worst-hit areas were Taft Street, Revere Beach Parkway and Vinal Street. Two iron workers were also caught in the storm and had to hang on for their lives as the tornado passed the James Hill Memorial School they were working on.

The tornado moved across the Chelsea River directly across the Paul Cronin Memorial Skating Rink with portions of its roof were blown across Route 16, the weather service said.

Residents described a terrifying scene.

“I was in my house and the house started shaking. Then I heard the trees coming down and then the roof blew off,” said Revere resident Mary Carrabes, whose home was destroyed this morning.

“I was home and getting ready to go out. It was raining then I heard a horrible sound,” said Gerry Iovanna, a resident of Revere Beach Parkway, whose car was crushed by a tree. “There was a massive tree that fell right in front of and directly on top of her house. In front the tree a car had picked up and thrown onto the sidewalk. When I looked out my front door you couldn’t see the street. It was all gray, Then within a second I heard this horrible crash. I ran to the middle of my house and shut the bathroom door and crouched down. I was really scared. Then after about 20 seconds it stopped and I went to the front door again that’s when I saw the tree. The whole roof was caved in and water was pouring in. My car is in the driveway under the tree.”

Another Revere resident said she believes the tornado touched down before the National Weather Service issued its tornado warning this morning.

“We lived in a beautiful area and all the trees are gone now,” the resident told Boston Herald Radio’s Morning Meeting in an interview from the devastated section of the city.

“There was no warning at all,” Rizzo said. “We don’t have a local tornado warning system. It took everybody by surprise.

The mayor asked people to refrain from calling 911 unless they have an emergency such as fallen power lines or trees blocking roads.

“Right now, we’re most concerned with safety issues,” he said. “I am so grateful we have no reports of major injuries…. Given the magnitude of the storm, it’s really a miracle.”

The city has teams out doing damage assessments, Rizzo said.

“There are many homes to the east and the west of Broadway that sustained damage,” he said. “Nobody here has ever seen damage like what we’ve seen this morning.”

Rumney Marsh Academy on American Legion Highway will be available to any residents who need shelter, the mayor said.

City Hall had to be evacuated and may be closed for the next few days because windows and doors were blown out, he said.

The mayor said the city is working with National Grid and Verizon, as well as MEMA and the National Weather Service, which is assessing the strength of the tornado.

Updates will be posted on the city’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account, Rizzo said.

“This is going to be a little bit of a process as we dig ourselves out,” he said.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo pledged the city financial aid from the state.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado struck shortly after 10 a.m., and the Revere Fire Department told the Herald they were “swamped” with emergency calls after it struck

“There are multiple building collapses, high-wires and power-lines are down. There are partial collapses all the way down Broadway Revere and multiple side streets,” a Revere Fire Department spokeswoman told the Herald. Additional workers were called in to assist with the crisis.

“I’m unaware of any major injuries at this time, but right now people should stay where they are,” the spokeswoman said. “Stay home because you can’t get around in the city and it hinders emergency vehicles and might be a danger especially with the downed wires.”

The windows of the MGH Revere Health Care Center were blown out and neighbors reported damage to numerous roofs.

There was no flooding visible in the area affected, but major structural and wind damage was visible in the section of Revere going down Broadway cornering the Chelsea line.

“We had a monumental storm come to our city this morning,” said Rizzo. “I think the worst of it is over. If anybody sees any downed power-lines please call 911 and stay away. If you have trees that are blocking roads, please call 911.”

Rizzo said he has received calls of support from Liz Warren, Gov. Patrick, and Deleo, as well as Mayor Walsh, the Mayors of Lynn and Everett.

“I’m appreciative of all the resources that are being offered to the city,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Nobody here has ever seen damage like we experienced this morning. We are doing all we can to get the city fixed up. Right now we are taking one steps at a time. I’m asking residents to be calm. It was a pretty traumatic experience for a lot of people. We are working on it, the worst is behind us.”

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said residents who experienced damage should contact their insurers as soon as possible and take photographs of the damage.

Most tornado, windstorm, hail and similar severe weather-related losses are covered either by, homeowners, renters, commercial, or automobile insurance policies, said Frank O’Brien in a statement.

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