National Weather Service: Microburst hits Easthampton with 100 m - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

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National Weather Service: Microburst hits Easthampton with 100 mph winds

Posted: Updated:
An aerial shot shows how powerful the damaging winds were in Easthampton. (Patrick Brough of Easthampton) An aerial shot shows how powerful the damaging winds were in Easthampton. (Patrick Brough of Easthampton)
Trees were down all over Easthampton. (Twitter / @ericfisher) Trees were down all over Easthampton. (Twitter / @ericfisher)
Mountain Road in Easthampton was closed Wednesday. Mountain Road in Easthampton was closed Wednesday.
Trees were uprooted after severe weather hit Easthampton. Trees were uprooted after severe weather hit Easthampton.
Crews were assessing damage throughout Easthampton. Crews were assessing damage throughout Easthampton.
 Mayor L. Karen Cadieux declared a state of emergency Wednesday because of severe storms that caused damage throughout Easthampton.

Members of the National Weather Service were on scene investigating the damage Wednesday morning and determined that the severe weather was a microburst, which are straight-line winds coming from a thunderstorm. Wind speeds were estimated to be at approximately 100 mph, Fire Chief David Mottor said. 

The storm approached the Mount Tom ridge from the west, which increased the wind speeds. 

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) also responded with a crew to assess the damage and assist with the cleanup. Mottor said the town was lucky to receive assistance from partners such as Verizon Wireless and MEMA, which significantly reduced the cleanup time. 

The storm uprooted trees and caused damaged to multiple homes and cars in the Mountain Road area. The storm swept through at about 4:45 a.m. and Cadieux declared the state of emergency at about 6 a.m. 

"Short of miracle, these people were not seriously injured," Cadieux said of the residents whose homes sustained the most damage. 

Several homes lost power and Mottor said several residents were injured, but did not require hospitalization.

One mile of Mountain Road was covered with trees and wires. Mountain Road (Route 141) was completely inaccessible and was expected to be closed for several hours, but one lane was reopened Wednesday afternoon.

Power was expected to be restored by Wednesday afternoon. Hendrick Street and was expected to be closed for about 48 hours, Cadieux said. Mountain Road was expected to reopen at about noontime on Friday.

Two people became trapped in their cars at about 5 a.m. after wires fell around them, but emergency crews were able to rescue the victims.

Most of the damage sustained from the microburst was in the Mount Tom area. Its path was approximately one mile long and a quarter-mile wide.

A microburst is a strong down draft from a strong thunderstorm that hits the ground and sends out a straight line of strong winds. As a result, many of the trees down in Easthampton fell in the same direction as those winds down the mountain side. 

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