BOSTON (CBS) – It was an unusually warm afternoon on June 1, 2011. The high temperatures peaked in the 80s and 90s. The forecasts called for an approaching cold front to increase the risk of storms, but no one could imagine what was coming later that afternoon.
At 4:17 p.m. the first sightings of a large, long-track tornado were seen over Westfield. The tornado picked up briefly before falling over West Springfield again.
CONTINUE READING: Weymouth High School graduates remain positive after a difficult year
With no tornado warning in place, West Springfield was taken by surprise. The tornado injured many and killed two, a man in his car and a woman taking refuge in her bathtub.
Shortly after the West Springfield impact, the first tornado warning was issued at 4:30 p.m. Several tower cameras captured the tornado that crossed the Connecticut River to Springfield.
At 4:38 p.m., Springfield’s South End was hit directly. The MGM Springfield Casino was to be built here later.
The Twister left for Wilbraham at 4:50 pm. Here it caused massive damage to over 200 houses and extensive deforestation.
The next town in line was Monson. At around 5 p.m., the tornado rose over Mount Ella and hit the heart of the city.
The First Church of Monson Congregational lost its steeple, the high school roof was destroyed, and many homes were damaged. The tornado left telephone poles and cables along Main Street and hampered the initial emergency response.
CONTINUE READING: “Like The Apocalypse”: Monson celebrates the 10th anniversary of the devastating tornado
Today the chaos of ten years ago is a distant memory. The steeple has returned to its seat in the church when the bells ring in remembrance every June 1st. The scar on the slope is no longer as noticeable as in previous years and proves that nature heals.
Further east, Brimfield was in the way of the storm. At 5:05 p.m., the tornado reached its maximum width: half a mile wide. The storm swept over the Village Green Family Campground. A woman stuck in her motor home was killed.
Compared to 2011, the campsite is unrecognizable. Many of the campsite buildings have been remodeled and campers have returned to the area.
The tornado then went straight to Sturbridge. In the middle of the way home, the tornado crossed a second main road at around 5:20 p.m. – Interstate 84.
Some of the damage is still visible if you drive down I-84 at Sturbridge. Some trees have not grown back, others are still missing their bark as a permanent wound from the tornado.
The tornado finally broke up in Charlton at 5:27 pm. after being on the ground for 70 minutes. It made its way through western Massachusetts for nearly 40 miles and caused $ 175 million in damage.
MORE NEWS: WooSox is offering free tickets to fans receiving a COVID vaccine during the first full capacity Polar Park homestand
It was later found to be an EF-3 tornado, the third largest tornado ever in Massachusetts. The only tornadoes that were stronger were the 1953 Worcester Tornado and the 1995 Great Barrington Tornado.