by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) June 2, 2011
Deadly tornadoes like the one that struck Massachusetts are unusual but not unheard of in the northeastern United States, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.
Massachusetts has seen an average of two tornadoes per year since 1950, when the US government began keeping records on the phenomena.
Prior to Wednesday's tornadoes, which killed at least four people in the small northeastern state, there had not been a tornado in Massachusetts since a weak one touched down in the southeastern corner in 2008.
The last deadly tornado to hit Massachusetts was a potent level E4 storm with winds of 166-200 miles per hour (267-321 kilometers per hour) a full 16 years ago, according to NOAA spokesman Greg Carbin.
"The last killer tornado to occur in Massachusetts was on May 29, 1995 when three people were killed and 24 were injured by an EF4 tornado that left a 10 mile (16 kilometer) path of destruction across parts Berkshire County, in the western part of the state," he said.
Massachusetts declared a state of emergency after about 20 communities throughout the state reported tornado touchdowns.
The latest tornadoes came just over a week after a massive funnel cloud struck the Missouri town of Joplin, killing 134 in one of the worst single tornadoes to strike the United States.
earlier related report
With the tornado season far from over, the 2011 toll rose to 523 Thursday.
It includes four new victims who died in hospital nearly two weeks after the deadliest single twister in more than six decades destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri.
That toll now stands at 138, the Missouri Department of Public Safety said in a statement.
The mile-wide May 22 twister reduced a third of the Missouri town of Joplin to rubble, tearing apart homes, businesses, a hospital, churches and schools along a four-mile (six-kilometer) path of destruction.
It came after a horrific outbreak left 361 dead in several US states in April.
At least four people were killed Wednesday when a rare twister outbreak struck Massachusetts.
The deadliest year on record is 1925, when tornadoes killed 794 people in the United States, followed by 552 deaths in 1936, 551 deaths in 1917, 540 in 1927 and 537 in 1986, according to the National Weather Service.
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US tornado toll at 134, no more missing
Chicago (AFP) June 1, 2011
Officials have located all the people reported missing in the wake of the deadliest single tornado to strike the United States and all 134 victims have been identified, Missouri's governor said Wednesday. The mile-wide May 22 twister reduced a third of the Missouri town of Joplin to rubble, tearing apart homes, businesses, a hospital and schools along a four-mile (six-kilometer) path of dest ... read more
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