By WGBH News
June 1, 2011
BOSTON — A severe band of thunderstorms swept across Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon, prompting Gov. Patrick to declare a state of emergency in the state. The storms spawned multiple tornadoes in Springfield, and put areas across Western, Central and Eastern Massachusetts under tornado warnings and watches.
Hospitals in Springfield are treating over 30 injured patients; four people have been reported dead. Property damage reports include overturned cars, collapsed buildings and roofs torn of off buildings.
By Wednesday night, 19 Massachusetts communities had been affected by tornadoes and servere storms, according the Gov. Patrick. Speaking to reporters, he said he had spoken to state Sen. Stephen Brewer of Monson, who said "You have to see the damage to believe it."
Patrick has activated 1,000 National Guard troops. He said FEMA agents were already on the ground in Springfield helping with emergency operations.
The Greater Boston Area missed the bulk of the storms, although near-constant lightning and rumbling thunder flashed across the sky in the 9:00 hour. By 10 p.m., the tornado watches that much of the state had been under since 1 p.m. had been lifted.
This article was updated on June 2 to reflect the following correction: The original version mistakenly attributed the quote, "You have to see it to believe it," to the mayor of Monson.