SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been 12 years since the deadly EF-3 tornado tore through Massachusetts killing three people and injuring 200 others.

The tornado’s winds reached 165 mph destroying hundreds of homes and buildings,
shaking communities to their core. The EF-3 tornado had a nearly 40-mile-long track from Westfield to Charlton.

According to the National Weather Service, an estimated 1,400 houses and 78 businesses were damaged or destroyed. The memory of that day still has an impact on the many residents who witnessed this deadly natural disaster.

This devastating storm killed three people injured 200 and left 500 others homeless. The community today continues to show its strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

“In the long run, it was actually a good thing for the city. The city realized how strong it was and it bounced back. And they took a lot of that money and turned it into schools and parks and things like that. And made it work. I think the mayor did a great job coming out of that, the whole city did a good job coming out of that,” said Mark Frodema of Springfield.

Since then communities have been rebuilt, trees have been replanted and schools have been replaced. 22News was in Monson Thursday, one of the hardest hit areas, and thankfully 12 years later, you can’t really tell what destruction took place on that day. More than a decade later, the community still bonding over the stories of that day.

“Maybe a Nor’easter, you know? A blizzard maybe, a hurricane… you never expect an EF-3 tornado with 160 mile per hour winds to hit you. Going through it, you’d say will the sunshine again? And the sun did shine again,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Residents remember the widespread destruction and devastation like it was yesterday. The tornado left many of these areas unrecognizable. The community today chooses to find the silver linings in this somber situation by supporting each other and never forgetting what transpired on that day.

Springfield observed the 12th anniversary of the Tornado Thursday afternoon at 4:38 p.m., the time the tornado first touched down in the city.

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Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.