PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A tornado that left a trail of damage in three Rhode Island communities was the most powerful of five that touched down in the region on Friday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The agency released its report on the tornadoes Monday afternoon, which offered specifics on the size and speed of the tornadoes and the amount of ground they covered.
The tornado that touched down at 8:40 a.m. in Scituate had a maximum width of 250 yards and traveled more than nine miles in a discontinuous path through Scituate, Johnston and North Providence, according to the report.
With winds topping out around 115 mph, the tornado was given an EF-2 rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It was the strongest in Rhode Island since an EF-2 hit Cranston and Providence back on Aug. 7, 1986.
The most severe damage from Friday’s tornado, according to NWS, was at its first stop near Byron Randall Road in Scituate. The report said hundreds of large trees were uprooted or snapped at their bases, and one home had its windows blown in, an exterior door dislodged, the top of its chimney blown off, and its roof damaged.
Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca chatted with NWS Meteorologist Torry Dooley about the tornadoes and their impacts. (Story continues below video.)
The tornado then crossed I-295 in the area of Exit 10 in Johnston, where it lifted a car several feet into the air and dropped it back down. The driver suffered minor injuries.
From there, it continued east to Highland Memorial Park Cemetery, where a number of trees were snapped and uprooted. The head of the cemetery told 12 News no headstones or memorials were badly damaged, but it will be some time before the cemetery is walkable again.
More trees came down in Johnston and north of Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence. Some of those fell onto homes, including two that were made uninhabitable by the damage, according to the NWS. The tornado ended at 8:57 a.m.
The NWS report also detailed other tornadoes that hit the area on Friday, including EF-1s in North Attleborough/Mansfield, Weymouth, and Scotland, Conn., and an EF-0 in Stoughton.