Residents react to strong storms in Franklin County - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Residents react to strong storms in Franklin County

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Wednesday night's tornado warning in Franklin County forced residents to buckle down for about an hour-and-a-half.

Residents across the region reported seeing walls of dark clouds that looked eerily like a funnel forming.

"I was at my daughter's game up in Buckland and we just saw a huge dark cloud over the trees," said Jim Elwell of Greenfield.

The storm never actually produced a tornado but it did cause some severe lightning.

A tree in Shelburne was struck, causing the nearby home to ignite as well.

Firefighters were able to respond during the tornado warning and put out the fire without injuries. They say strikes like these are not all that uncommon, especially with homes surrounded by trees.

"My house was hit by lightning many, many years ago and all we found of the telephone line was two smoking ends about 3 feet apart," said Shelburne firefighter Terry Dun.

For those at the Federal Street School in Greenfield, it was a reminder of the June 2011 tornado.

"I just wanted to make sure that they were prepared and that they knew what the plan was," said Shelly Clark, who works at the school.

Teachers acted quickly when they heard the tornado warning.

"At first we sat on the last floor of the school then they told us to go in the basement," said 7-year-old Brendan Austin.

He was among the students rushed to the basement. He and his mom called his dad at home to warn him.

"She called me up and told me there was a tornado warning which I did not realize, I looked it up on your website and saw the weather on that," said Brendan's dad, Eric Austin.

For the Austin family and others, Wednesday's tornado warning is a reminder that severe summer weather is on the way.

"I've been through storms like that so I wasn't very scared when it happened," Brendan said.

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