Rare tornado slams Boston area, knocks out power

BOSTON Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:10am EDT

1 of 2. A man walks amid cleanup crews on Vinal Street in Revere, Massachusetts, July 28, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Dominick Reuter

BOSTON (Reuters) - Officials and residents in the Boston-area city of Revere were picking up the pieces early on Tuesday after it was raked by a rare tornado that knocked out power and damaged homes and buildings.

The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down during a storm that brought heavy rains, lightning and flooding to Boston, Massachusetts, and many of its northern suburbs on Monday.

"Obviously we had a monumental storm come through our city early this morning," Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo told reporters. "There's widespread damage, downed power lines, telephone poles, a lot of public buildings and homes that have been damaged."

State emergency management officials said they were not aware of major injuries or fatalities from the storm.

Revere police reported extensive damage to homes and trees after the violent weather. Rizzo wrote on Twitter that officials would be arranging a relief fund on Tuesday.

Boston and cities to its northeast reported extensive street flooding from the storm, which dropped rain at the rate of 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm) per hour, the National Weather Service said.

The Boston Globe newspaper cited an official with National Grid as saying that 500 homes were still without power as of late on Monday evening. The newspaper also reported that the tornado damaged more than 100 homes.

The weather across the region and across the U.S. was forecast to cooperate with clean-up efforts on Tuesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Thompson.

"In terms of severe storms, it doesn't look like there is much of a threat anywhere today," Thompson said. "We are continuing on the slow, downhill slide."

Live television video showed multiple buildings with roofs or walls partly pulled off and downed trees and branches throughout the city. Rizzo said many windows and doors had been blown out at City Hall, prompting an evacuation of that building, which he said is not likely to be safe to reoccupy for several days.

Tornadoes are uncommon in Massachusetts, although a large spate of storms in June 2011 badly damaged downtown Springfield, in the central part of the state, killing three people.

At least two twisters briefly touched down near Denver International Airport late on Monday afternoon, though there were no reports of damage, Thompson said.

Passengers were told to seek shelter for about 30 minutes, the airport said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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