Massachusetts

Cape Cod Tornado Timeline: How the Storm Rolled in

A tornado swept through Cape Cod around lunchtime Tuesday and brought lots of damage to areas including Dennis, Harwich, Yarmouth and Chatham.

Parts of Cape Cod were struck by at least one tornado on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. There was widespread damage.

As residents clean up from the debris, our weather pattern will quiet down over the next few days. The National Weather Service will update us on the timeline, location and strength (EF ranking) of the tornado soon.

A rare Cape Cod tornado touched down in Massachusetts on Tuesday. Watch as the tornado rips off the roof of Cape Sands Inn in West Yarmouth.

Here's how the storm developed Tuesday:

  • 8:59 a.m. We followed a waterspout south of Long Island, New York, just south of the Hamptons, on radar.
  • 9:29 a.m. The waterspout moved south of Montauk on eastern Long Island.
  • 10:25 a.m. We conducted our first on-air break-in to report a rotating storm with a waterspout headed for Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts, that threatened to produce a tornado.
  • 10:46 a.m. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the Elizabeth Islands and Martha's Vineyard.
  • 11:14 a.m. A tornado warning was issued for the Elizabeth Islands and Martha's Vineyard.
  • 11:40 a.m. A new tornado warning extended to the mid-Cape.
  • 12:02 p.m. National Weather Service dual-polarization radar indicated debris had been lofted into the air. Dual-polarization radar is capable of detecting when particles in the atmosphere are not normal meteorological particles.
  • 12:03 p.m. The NWS updated the tornado warning to indicate a "confirmed tornado" based on radar.
  • 12:13 p.m. A new tornado warning extended to the Outer Cape.
  • 12:33 p.m. The tornado warning was discontinued as the storm swept offshore. Multiple videos of funnels on the water and ground have come in, confirming a funnel touched ground, indicating a tornado.

According to NBC10 Boston meteorologist Chris Gloninger, there is "no question" it is tornado damage.

[STRINGER] Images: Tornado Causes Widespread Damage on Cape Cod

The NWS is sending a survey team to Cape Sands Inn, where damage was significant — the roof was torn off a building — and matches closely the radar indication of debris lofted into the air. They should announce very quickly that it was a tornado based on all videos, photographs, reports and our Gloninger's assessment. The time-consuming, painstaking part is determining how many, path length and width, strength and duration.

Missing Attachment Tuesday evening: Temperature in the 60s. Partly cloudy. Overnight Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the 60s. Wednesday: Pleasant sun. Highs near 80.

Looking ahead, this evening we will continue to see a few showers and sprinkles linger across southern New England. Another wave of low pressure passes to the southeast overnight, bringing scattered showers across southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut through daybreak.

The showers and clouds erode away from northwest to southeast during Wednesday afternoon as highs reach the 70s to low 80s. The humidity will be lower for a couple of days.

Sunshine returns to the forecast for everyone through the start to the weekend. We have a gradual warming trend in through the end of the week into the mid-80s. By the weekend, the humidity returns and our temperatures will warm to the upper 80s.

We hold off on rain chances (other than a few pop-up showers or storms in the mountains) until Sunday night. A more active weather pattern sets up for next week, with scattered storms or showers popping up Monday through next Thursday afternoon. Highs may return to the 90s for next week too, as a heat dome builds.

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