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Tornado Touches Down, Twists Trees in Dennis

Eve Zuckoff
A truck turns onto a completely flooded Walker Road in Falmouth.

A tornado touched down in Dennis early Thursday morning, with wind gusts as high as 71 miles per hour and reports of roaring winds, twisted trees, and damaged properties.

It was the ninth tornado recorded on the Cape, according to the National Weather Service, which has records that date back about 60 years. No injuries were reported.

“The tornado was one of our typical small and brief ones,” texted Andy Nash, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service for Boston and Norton. “[It was an] estimated 15 yards wide and [the] damage path was only 1/10 mile. So that means it lasted less than a minute.”

The tornado, which struck around 1:30 a.m. at the intersection of East Bay View Road and Wampanoag Trail near Mayflower Beach in Dennis, was a relatively weak one, registering as an EF-0 on a scale from zero to five. Still, it caused some damage.

“There was damage to trees, trees that were uprooted, snapped in half,” Nash said.

A meteorologist on Nash’s team also surveyed damage in Woods Hole, Yarmouth, New Bedford, and Rochester.

While there was no known video of the tornado, a backyard weather station in the Dennis area recorded a 71 mph wind gust in the early morning hours. Winds during an EF0 tornado range from 65-70 mph.

Also, the meteorologist who surveyed the area saw downed trees all bent over the same way, which could simply indicate a thunderstorm during which wind blows from the same direction. Then he saw roof shingles that came from homes on the other side of the street mixed into the debris.

“We even had some reports of people hearing a roar of wind for 30-40 seconds,” Nash said. “That all ties in to tell us it's a tornado, or most likely.”

The last tornadoes recorded on Cape Cod hit Yarmouth and Harwich in the summer of 2019. An EF-1 that reached wind speeds of 110 mph tore the roof off of a motel in Yarmouth.

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.