Massachusetts Tornado Help – Call 211

Thank you to all who have contacted Massachusetts VOAD to help victims of yesterday’s tornadoes with donations and services.
Coordination of all help and donations is now running the United Way’s 211 service so please call 211
You may also donate to Mass. VOAD member organizations if you wish. They are linked under “organizations” on this web site.
Sincerely,
Chris Farrand (Chair), Luis Matnog (Vice-Chair), Kevin Hall (Secretary)

Below is an update (June 2, 2011) on the Massachusetts Tornado situation from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Massachusetts Tornadoes, Wednesday, June 1, 2011

At around 4:30 EDT on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 a line of severe weather crossed from western part Massachusetts heading east. Damaging tornadoes passed through the Springfield area. A second tornado is reported to have later struck the same region. It was reported that hundreds of homes were damaged and thousands of trees were down.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency effective at 7:10PM on June 1. Nineteen (19) communities are reported affected including the towns of: Westfield, Springfield, West Springfield, Monson, Agawam, Charlton, Oxford, Palmer, Sturbridge, and Wilbraham, among others. The Governor has directed that all non-emergency Executive Branch employees living or working in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Counties should not report to their workplaces Thursday, June 2. In addition, 23 schools were closed and 21 businesses in the affected communities on Thursday.

The National Guard has called up approximately 1,000 troops to assist in rescue and response efforts. Troops are being dispersed from three locations, one in Springfield, one in Ware, and one in Worcester.

At least four people have died as a result of the tornado. One person was killed in West Springfield when his car overturned, two in Westfield, and one in Brimfield. Details of those 3 fatalities have not yet been released.

Jane Albert of Baystate Medical Center told 22News that the hospital is caring for 25 people who are injured, 10 of whom are in the trauma unit. There are at least 20 other reports of injuries.

In Springfield, Mayor Domenic Sarno said that the South End, East Forest Park, and Sixteen Acres were the sections of the city that were hit the hardest. The Indian Orchard neighborhood also saw damage.

There was a total of more than 60,000 power outages in communities serviced by Western Massachusetts Electric Company. As of 8:49am Thursday, June 2, about 14,000 are still without power. Sandra Ahern from Western Massachusetts Electric Company reports that there are more than 80 utility poles down in the Sixteen Acres and East Forest Park neighborhoods, where she said that they do not anticipate power will be restored for a couple of days.

Voluntary Agency Efforts

Local volunteers are currently supporting relief efforts in Springfield and communities throughout the jurisdiction with sheltering, canteen and mental health counseling.

The American Red Cross reports 5 open shelters as of Thursday morning, with populations in each. Of the 5 shelters reported open, the Red Cross is managing 2 in Springfield, and 1 in Monson. In addition there are 2 Red Cross-supported shelters in collaboration with local emergency officials, and 1 community shelter that the Red Cross is looking to assist with. The Mass Mutual Center in Springfield reported approximately 400 people being sheltered at its height late Wednesday night, with approximately 200 people remaining this morning. There are approximately 45 people at the West Springfield location and 35 in Monson. Pet sheltering has not been set up at any of the shelters as of Thursday morning.

The Red Cross is supporting feeding efforts at the open shelters, in addition to feeding approximately 300 first responders at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, in collaboration with the Salvation Army, and approximately 150 first responders in Monson. The Red Cross is not engaged in mobile feeding at this time.

The Salvation Army has set up a canteen service at the Command Post in Westfield to support first responders, and a canteen is also stationed in Brimfield. Canteen drop offs are occurring in Monson. The Salvation Army is also supporting canteen efforts at the Basketball Hall of Fame in collaboration with the Red Cross. The Salvation Army is beginning mobile canteen services, driving around affected communities, and providing psychological first aid as of 10am Thursday morning. 11 volunteers are currently engaged in Salvation Army activities, with approximately 5 additional volunteers working in the kitchens to prepare meals. 2 facilities in Springfield are on standby as possible temporary shelters if needed.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In the aftermath of Wednesday’s tornado damage , several major Western Massachusetts roads are closed for the Thursday morning commute. Here is a list of some major roadways that are closed.

SPRINGFIELD:

· Avoid downtown in general, South End; the less cars on the street the better for emergency crews working to assess threats (power lines, gas leaks) and remove obstructions (tree, debris)

Major closures:

· Plumtree Road from Allen Street onwards- impassible

· Main Street from State Street and southward

· Tinkham Road

· Parker Street from Wilbraham Road to Cooley Street

· Island Pond Road from Allen Street to Roosevelt Ave

WEST SPRINGFIELD:

· Union and Main run parallel- this is where the main impact occurred; basically the path of the tornado itself- this area is called the Merrick section of W. Spfld

· From Park and Union to Park and Main

· Union St. from Memorial Ave. to Park St.

· Main and Memorial

· All closed to all except emergency vehicles

· Police are essentially sealing off that entire area

· All obstructions are contained within that grid

WESTFIELD:

· Shaker Road- closed from Little River Road to Cardinal Lane

· Shaker Road closed at Canal Drive when coming in from Tannery Road/Ponders Hollow

· Entire section of Pontoosic Road from Feeding Hills Road to Crescent Circle (nearly the entire run of this road in the city)

WILBRAHAM:

· Tinkham Road is closed from Stony Hill Road to Bolles Road

· Monson Road is blocked-off from Main Street to Ridge Road

· Main Street and Stony Hill Road are open, but you are asked to use extreme caution

MONSON:

· Just avoid the entire downtown area of Monson

· There was significant damage to police building

BRIMFIELD

· Route 20 closed through the entire length of town

· Route 19 closed for the entire length of town

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