SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Nine years ago an EF-3 tornado tore through western Massachusetts carving a 39-mile path of destruction from Westfield to Charlton and killing three people.
The June 1, 2011 tornado hit Springfield’s East Forest Park neighborhood the hardest. Numerous people were injured, including 300 people in Springfield.
Destruction was widespread, with the Merrick section of West Springfield, the South End, East Forest Park, Sixteen Acres sections of Springfield, and the center of Monson being particularly hard-hit.
There was also massive tree damage and the destruction of homes in Westfield, Wilbraham, and Brimfield. More than 500 people lost their homes. In total, the tornado caused an estimated $140 million in damages.
The people of in the East Forest Park section of Springfield have rebuilt their homes but never quite replaced all the trees that were lost. On October 5, 2018, the Greening the Gateway Cities Program was launched to fund the planting of 2,400 trees to replace the ones lost during the tornado. Nearly one hundred other homeowners signed up to have trees planted in their backyards.
22News Storm Team Meterologist Adam Strzempko will be covering the impact the tornado has had on western Massachusetts residents since. You can watch the full report on 22News starting at 5.
Some of the important facts about the June 1st tornado if you’ve forgotten the specifics of it:
- Tornado touched down in Westfield just before 4:30 in the afternoon of June 1st.
- Rated an EF-3 with winds up to 160 mph on the enhanced fujuita scale which measured tornado speed and intensity.
- At its widest the tornado was a half mile wide.
- The path length was 39 miles long, but interestingly this is not the longest tornado path in Massachusetts history. It’s second only to the famed Worcester tornado of 1953.