NWS surveying damage after strong storms rip through southern Worcester County

UPTON, MASS. (WHDH) - The National Weather Service is surveying storm damage in southern Worcester County to determine if a tornado is to blame for a powerful burst of severe weather that left behind a trail of damage and widespread power outages early Thursday morning.

The storm ripped through the Main Street area in Upton just before 3 a.m., tearing roofs off homes, uprooting trees and knocking down power lines.

Neighborhood resident John Guilford, whose truck was crushed by a tree, described the storm and ensuing damage as windy, chaotic and scary.

“I looked outside and all the trees were sideways. You couldn’t even see across the street. The winds were just howling in circles,” he said.

Upton Emergency Management urged people to stay away from downed power lines and reminded them to assume the all lines are live.

Neighbors of a home on Main Street that had the roof of a third-floor porch ripped off the building said the wind sounded like a freight train.

“We ran outside to see what was going on and we noticed half of the roof was missing,” resident Eric Grubb said. “We went around to see if everyone else was okay which they thankfully were, and then it was just a matter of seeing what was going on. There was debris everywhere which was pretty crazy.”

The Red Cross is assisting those who were forced from their homes by the damage.

Route 140 was closed for several hours as National Grid worked to clear damages. It reopened just before 6:30 a.m.

Widespread damage was also reported in nearby Douglas, where officials are investigating a possible tornado touchdown. About 10-12 houses sustained damage, according to a National Weather Service survey team.

Video from SKY7 showed large trees on their side with roots dangling in the air. Many homes had branches draped across them. Power outages continue to be an issue in the area.

The team will visit Upton to assess the damage before ruling on whether or not a tornado actually touched down.

No injuries related to this storm were reported.

This is a developing story; stay with 7News on air and online for the latest updates.

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