Dispatches from hours after the storm

       The following writing comes from notes and links compiled in the first few hours after the storm.

A chain of thunderstorms, accompanied by hail and fierce winds pounded Western Massachusetts late Tuesday afternoon; resulting in at least one fatality, heavy property damage, flooded streets, and downed wires.

An 85-year-old who crashed into a toppled tree ensnared in live electrical wires while riding his motorcycle, is so far the only known casualty.

   It is unknown whether this occurred in the midst of the storm or in its immediate aftermath, as well as if the victim collided with the fallen timber or it had dropped upon him.

At least one person in Springfield is said to have been trapped under a downed tree  according to the National Weather Service. No indications on the identity of the individual nor the severity of their injuries.

The National Weather Service says that the first sightings of the storms came from the town of Worthington at about 3:35pm, with reports of sheered tree limbs and downed electrical wires. It then forged on striking the Hampshire county towns of Hampshire and Chester exacting similar devastation. At about 4:30 PM, professional spotters were said to have seen funnel clouds in Easthampton and West Springfield, though no tornados were said to have officially struck down in the Pioneer Valley.

Elsewhere there were moments of tenseness, but much of the other carnage from the storm is that mainly to property. Uprooted trees, downed tree limbs, others on the verge of falling, water-logged streets, and as many as 27,000 that were left without power.

In South Hadley,  a boat moving down the Connecticut River with passengers was overturned, but the passengers were rescued and brought to the shores.

Hampden County communities including: Chicopee, Holyoke, Ludlow, Monson, Springfield, and Wilbraham were impacted especially hard by the storm. Along the Route 33 area in Chicopee, heading towards Springfield, there were many streets cordoned off due to down trees sheered limbs, and wires. In one of the plazas along that crowded commercial boulevard, a Home Depot was said to have sustained some damage, and the fury of the winds brought down a few display sheds out in the parking lot.

Workers at the Home Depot said that Wal-Mart had damage to its roof in the brief but vicious storm, a claim Wal-Mart denied though they and a number of other stores were closed down due to power outages.

Despite the brief but robust nature of the storms, many were seen to have ventured out of their homes about an hour after the hail ceased and the sun slowly resurfaced. Surveying the damage in nearby areas and neighborhoods, while others swept or racked up the lush drenched foliage plastered to the rain darkened roadsides and driveways, picked up twigs littering front lawns, as the whining of chainsaws could also be heard, and people began removing the debris.

This storm comes less than two months after a June 1 EF-3 tornado touched down in Springfield and Monson claiming the lives of four people and leaving millions of dollars worth of damage.

More, as I gather more details to flesh this all out a little more, including pictures.


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