Warren storm damage: Tornado or microburst?
Trees were sheered cleanly off, 30 feet above the ground. Two mannequins that stood watch outside the Swift Results golf center and coffee shop were toppled over, upside down. And everywhere, large limbs and smaller branches littered the side of Market Street.
The National Weather Service in Taunton reports that strong thunderstorms were to blame for extensive storm-related damage around Market Street, Birch Swamp Road, Schoolhouse Road and Brittney Lane just after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Officially, Warren Fire Chief Al Galinelli said no one has yet mentioned a tornado, but it wouldn't surprise him if one actually hit:
"Sure looked like it," he said. "They're thinking it might have been a microburst."
The strong winds that blew through the area sheered the top off a massive pine tree and dropped it on a house just north of the Our Lady of Fatima property. Around the corner on Brittney Lane, another large tree fell on and nearly flattened a truck. And other trees fell across roads in the area, forcing the fire department and DPW to hustle to keep the streets clear.
"It happened at the wrong time, that's for sure," Chief Galinelli. "There was substantial damage and everyone had to work hard to get it cleared quick."
The impassable roads quickly backed up traffic through Warren, contributing to gridlock as far away as Main Street, downtown.
One resident, cleaning out bushes adjacent to the Fatima property, said it was a mess:
"All hell broke loose," said Arturo Soares. "The wind was screaming and trees were flying all over the place."