Strongest tornado since 1986 causes damage throughout Rhode Island

SCITUATE, R.I. (WLNE) — The National Weather Service announced Friday evening that an EF-2 tornado caused significant damage in Rhode Island.

According to the NWS, the tornado began its discontinuous path starting near Byron Road in Scituate, where the most severe damage occurred.

Officials said the tornado overturned hundreds of large trees and one home that had damage to its chimney, roof, windows and doors. Wind speeds are estimated to have been around 115mph.

The tornado then worked its way to Johnston where it crossed Interstate 295 and lifted a car into the air before dropping it back on the highway. That driver was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries.

This is a still from an RIDOT Traffic Camera that shows a car that crashed after being lifted off the road by strong winds.

Several trees were also snapped and uprooted in the Johnston area as well as stripped shingles from some homes’ roofs. Wind speeds were reported between 90 and 100mph.

A boat and downed power lines and trees are seen in Johnston, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. (WLNE)

Finally, the tornado crossed into North Providence, where it snapped several tree limbs. Two homes were deemed uninhabitable after sustaining damage from falling debris.

An EF-1 tornado was also confirmed in North Attleborough and Mansfield, causing sporadic damage to homes and trees as well as knocking an air conditioner off the top of a commercial building that is estimated to weigh about 1000lbs.

Another EF-1 tornado was confirmed in Weymouth, causing moderate damage to homes with winds of up to 110mph.

An EF-0 tornado was also confirmed in Stoughton, with winds reaching up to 80mph, officials said.

According analysis done by the ABC 6 Weather Team, over the last few decades Rhode Island and Massachusetts average less than one tornado per year.

That makes Friday’s events, and the whole month of August, which also saw an EF-1 in Mattapoisett, an outlier of a year.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island