SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The tragic and destructive tornado of June 1, 2011 will never be forgotten by the people of western Massachusetts who lived through that terrible afternoon.
By the end of the day, three people would die including a mother protecting her daughter from their collapsing roof in West Springfield.
Many millions of dollars in damaged property would leave a grim legacy in nine communities from Westfield to Charlton in Worcester County. So much of the property damage occurred in Springfield neighborhoods, such as East Forest Park where so many trees were uprooted and homes were destroyed.
The people of East Forest Park have rebuilt their homes but never quite fully replaced all the trees lost. For victims, the frightening freak of weather gone wild brings instant recall.
“There was a lot of damage to my house and I live by myself, and it was very difficult to get the damage repaired but the actual tornado came as a shock to me,” resident Philinea Shepley told 22News.
Described by victims as sounding like a locomotive, the tornado moved east ripping into Monson and Brimfield with its savage intensity. In Monson’s Hollow Road neighborhood, hillside homes came crashing down.
Ask victims years later what they recall regretting most, and they tell us, it’s the loss of the trees, which will never be fully replaced in their lifetime.