SAUGUS, MASS. (WHDH) - The National Weather Service says a microburst caused severe storm damage in Saugus Tuesday morning after remnants of Hurricane Florence brought powerful winds and torrential rain to Massachusetts.
Many streets in the city were left littered with downed trees and debris after a cluster of storms rumbled through, leaving officials wondering whether a tornado had touched down.
A survey team later determined that a microburst, or straight-line winds, was to blame for the widespread damage, not a tornado. The estimated wind speeds have yet to be determined.
The storm triggered severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings in Middlesex County, as well as a tornado warning in Essex County.
Gusty winds toppled a large tree and ripped down power lines on Ballard Street. Dudley Street was also blocked by a tree that fell across the road. Other trees snapped and fell in yards on Montvale Avenue and near Riverside Park.
Louis Ferreira, who had a tree crash down outside of his home, says the burst of terrifying weather sounded like a freight train.
“It’s held up through so many storms but this must have been a tornado,” he told 7News.
At the height of the storm, Ferreira says the wind swept up his deck furniture and launched into a river that runs through his backyard.
Roger Maillet, who lives nearby, had a tree land on his back deck.
“I just heard a bang,” he said. “Then then thunder and lightning started. I heard a tree in the back.”
A cemetery off Winter Street was also covered in downed trees and limbs.
“There were just trees everywhere. The wind was going crazy,” another Saugus resident said.
Garbage cans that were left out for collection were blown all around several neighborhoods.
At one point, more than 4,500 residents were without power, according to MEMA.
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