EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Several communities across Southern New England were left with significant damage following Friday’s wild weather.
The National Weather Service (NWS) says an EF-2 tornado first touched down near Byron Randall Road in Scituate, leaving hundreds of trees uprooted.
“It’s really too big for me to handle. It is tree on top of tree on top of another tree,” said Josh Gostanian of Scituate.
The tornado, which was the strongest to touch down in Rhode Island in nearly 40 years, then traveled to Johnston and weakened to an EF-1, according to the NWS.
The NWS said the tornado crossed I-295 and briefly lifted a car several feet off the ground before dropping it back onto the highway. It then moved further into town, knocking down dozens of trees and disturbing gravestones at Highland Memorial Park Cemetery.
The tornado also stopped briefly in North Providence, snapping and uprooting trees near Mineral Spring Avenue, according to the NWS. Officials are urging people to exercise caution while cleaning up debris from the storm.
“Be cautious, I know you want to clean your property, you want to assess damage, but do it cautiously,” said Rhode Island Emergency Management (RIEMA) External Affairs Officer Armand Randolph. “Watch out for debris that’s moved around – definitely power lines always think that a powerline is live, period,” he continued.
The NWS also confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down just over the state line in North Attleboro. The tornado briefly lifted before forming again along Gilbert Street in Mansfield, where the NWS said it tossed a 1,000-pound air conditioning unit over a one-story building.
Randolph says the National Weather Service is putting together a final report regarding Friday’s tornados, and it is expected to be complete by Monday or Tuesday.